Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Eirini Kafourou, Marketing Specialist at Megaventory.
Happy and loyal customers are the key for a growing business. Satisfied customers can ultimately become brand promoters by talking about your products and services with their friends and colleagues. Word of mouth is only getting stronger today since it also happens online on social media, forums and review sites. That means that a happy customer now can influence even more people to try your brand since online conversation is open to a much larger number of people.
On top of that, you should know that the process of attracting new customers is actually more expensive than delighting and retaining your existing ones – a conclusion that is supported by multiple studies, peer reviews, and company white papers. Therefore, focusing on building trust with your existing customers not only helps you grow but also allows you to achieve more with your available budget.
Let’s see five ways you can build trust and loyalty with your customers today.
1. Customer Support
Be quick to respond to your customers’ problems and offer many ways for them to reach you when they are in need. Customers should not have to fill complicated forms to get heard. Help them communicate with you in their most preferred way, whether it is a phone call, e-mail or even chat.
Not every customer is the same when it comes to how they feel comfortable to communicate. A great number of people prefer to take their time and space and conduct an e-mail. Millennials, on the other hand, prefer to chat with a company via social media and expect an immediate response. If you are a company with such a diverse client base, it is important to have something for everyone.
Of course, setting up all those channels of communication won’t help you if your company is not organized and disciplined enough to answer emails within the day (for e-mails) or within minutes (for chat). So, choose your channels wisely and be active!
Measure your current customers’ satisfaction levels and examine if allocating budget to your support team may help them respond to and close tickets faster. As your business grows, it will make more sense to relocate some of your budget from marketing and sales to customer happiness.
2. Customer Service and Success
While it is similar to Customer Support, the difference is that customer service is the proactive approach to delight your customers. A simple FAQ on your website can be a great start to reduce some of the workload of your support agents and even save some prospects before walk out the door. Many customers prefer to search for information online and if they cannot find them – especially if they are not really warmed up for a purchase – they may not bother to contact the company to enquire further info.
If you notice certain patterns or common problems in your support tickets or sales team communication, consider creating a guide on these topics and share it with your customers. You can also use this material as part of your content strategy to capture new leads.
3. Active Social Media Presence
Social media is a key-factor to capture word-of-mouth. In today’s world of online word-of-mouth, businesses should try to monitor and capture attention and create a rapport with their customers and prospects.
Actively make your own the content that users generate about you by repurposing it accordingly and helping in the virality of the content you want to promote.
Social listening is much more than just observing market trends and customer preferences; Active listening means that you receive customers’ feedback in order to take related action to make your products, services and business processes even better. Active listening also shows your customers that you really care about, further helping you gain and retain their trust
4. Review Sites
As word-of-mouth is getting strong now, review sites are used by many buyers who want to make sure that they choose the best option available in the market.
Create a listing on the sites that are more relevant to your industry and then make sure to delight your customers to share their feedback with the rest of the world.
A good strategy is to ask your existing customers to share their feedback and rate you in those sites, especially after having a meaningful interaction with them – like solving a problem they had. Be careful, though, to align with each platforms terms of service; Google, for example, is against this and may even delete reviews that were uploaded from the same Wi-Fi address to the business’, while software reviews sites may even encourage you to set up a review acquisition strategy.
5. Optimize your Website’s Info
Your website is the “display” of your business, and all information there should be up-to-date and relevant. From an incorrect phone number to an offer that doesn’t exist anymore, all these inaccuracies will make you look unreliable and can cost you potential or even existing customers
Especially if you are in the e-commerce industry, where your website is your main source of revenue, having accurate information is crucial. Get the best tools to make sure that the stock availability of your products is up-to-date with your warehouse in real time and automatically, by choosing an inventory management system that integrates with your e-commerce software. Having to manually inform a client that you will not be able to fulfill their order on time or at all can hurt seriously hurt their trust and ultimately your online reputation.
These were just some of the directions you can follow to build loyalty and trust with your customers. Depending on your business model, whether you are in the B2B or B2C sector or the unique cultural characteristics of your target audience different approaches may work for you. In any case, shifting some of your focus to delighting your existing customers will surely allow you and your customers grow.
Eirini Kafourou handles communications for Megaventory the online inventory management system that can help small businesses synchronize stock and manage purchases and sales over multiple stores.