How many people have you spoken to today? How many smiles and ‘good mornings’ did you exchange… on your way into the office?
We all crave human connection: even if we don’t realise it, or don’t want to admit it. It’s what leaves a sour taste in our mouth if we walk into a retail store and the shop assistant doesn’t acknowledge us. Or, if a colleague doesn’t make a comment about your new haircut.
Even if your business doesn’t possess a physical presence or shop front, it’s still vital to maintain regular connection with your customer base to ensure they have a sense of belonging to your community.
This can be through direct mail, EDMs, newsletters, and push notifications to their mobile devices, as well as via social media. This form of ‘connection’ needs to be relevant and regular, without leaving the customer feeling bombarded. While social media posts can be frequent (between 2-5 per day), printed mail and digital mail needs to be restricted (fortnightly/monthly) to major announcements, or new products/services/sale events.
Keeping in touch not only makes your customers feel valued and ‘in the loop’, it keeps your brand and image top-of-mind for their future purchases. Ask for their opinions, value their feedback and actually demonstrate how their input is being used within your business – to create change: “You asked, we listened”.
It’s also imperative to respond to queries and any complaints as efficiently and constructively as possible. People need to know their concerns are being heard and they’re not ‘just a number’, but a valuable member of your community.
Have you ever been to a company’s Facebook page, only to be confronted by bad reviews? What’s even worse is when no one has responded to the review at all. Make it a habit to check every one of your Facebook reviews. Thank those who share positive experiences and if a staff member is named, pass on those positive vibes. But, more importantly, learn from the bad reviews. If someone has simply said “this business sucks”, request to contact them via private message and ask them to elaborate on why their experience was so awful.
If someone has detailed the issues, thank them for their feedback and assure them you will review your practices to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Then turn those words into action – make the change and invite the customer back. No one wants to have a bad customer experience.
On the flip side, it’s also valuable for you to get to know them – including their likes and dislikes. Through some basic market research, you can find out the important details, such as demographics, income, hobbies and interests, and online habits. By getting to know them, you can connect them with appropriate promotions and content.