What’s your most powerful marketing tool? Forget newsletters, social media, print ads and SEO. Your best way to reach new customers is through word of mouth – in other words, recommendations from loyal customers.
Customers who love your business are your brand evangelists, spreading the word about you to their friends both online and offline. In addition to reaching new customers, you should be focusing on nurturing current customers and gaining their loyalty.
If you provide services, tack on an extra service at no additional charge. For products, send a small gift along with the purchase. (A handwritten thank-you note with the purchase can be just as effective.) Something which costs you very little can make a huge difference in customer satisfaction. This tactic is even more effective if you make the bonus a surprise.
Customers want to buy from a brand that cares what they have to say. Create a short survey and hand it out upon purchase, post it on your website and on social media. Find out what customers think of your product and the customer experience you provide. Use this information to improve and satisfy your customers – and let them know that you’ve made changes based on their feedback.
Ask customers to tag pictures of your product on Instagram. Develop an app specifically for the brand. Create a group on Facebook or LinkedIn to share feedback and comments. Make customers feel that they are part of something bigger when they engage with your brand.
Despite the speed of online ordering and automated phone support, customers want to speak to a real human being when they are having issues. A phone call with a professional and helpful customer representative goes a long way in creating customer loyalty. Make sure customers can easily find your contact information and that there is somebody to answer emails and phone calls at all times.
A customer may come into a store or visit a website to purchase a specific product, but you know he would also benefit from related products which would complete the experience. Offer him the additional products and let him know how he could use all the items together. A customer who leaves with more than he came for (and feels good about it) is a happy customer.
In every industry there are leaders. If they are happy customers, they will spread the word to regular buyers who will take the advice of the leaders about where to shop. If a marketing agency offers high-end services for large brands, they will have an easier time selling their lower end services to small businesses. A sports equipment brand could focus on satisfying trainers who will then send their trainees to make purchases from this company.
Treat your best customers like insiders. Let them know what your plans are before you go public. Send out a newsletter in advance of a sale to let customers know prices will be dropping soon. Let customers see the beta version of your website and ask them what they think. When customers feel like family, they treat you like they would treat their own relatives.
Customers expect a certain level of customer service but if you go beyond that they will remember it for a long time. A personal email from an employee asking a customer how satisfied he is with his purchase or a phone call to a long-standing customer to wish her a happy birthday will be greatly appreciated.
The biggest customer evangelists are previously dissatisfied customers. Customers may complain on social media, call your office or send an angry email. No matter how they reach out, their goal is to find a solution to their problem. They may need technical support, a new product or a refund. Whatever it is they need, it’s worth the expense to turn these unhappy customers into loyal fans.
Brands often focus their efforts on initial contact with a new customer. While that is important, consistency is even more important. Under-promise and over-deliver as a rule and your customers will praise you at every possible opportunity.
Keep your customers thrilled, and they’ll not only be coming back for more – they’ll be bringing others in for a taste.
Submitted by Hadassah