Now that customers have more choice than ever, providing excellent customer service could be the key factor that makes your business stand out from the competition.
To build customer loyalty it’s essential to align your business strategies with a customer-centric vision.
According to a recent KPMG Customer Experience Excellence report, personalisation is what customers really appreciate. Understanding what they value and adding personal touches to your service delivery could help your business recognised for its great customer service. Part of this is tailoring your offering to suit your customers’ needs and circumstances, and treating them as an individual (not just another order). By acting with integrity and personalising your offering, you can build rapport and trust with your customers, which may lead to repeat custom and referrals.
At face value, the power of one customer seems rather insignificant, however a happy customer is often a repeat customer. There could also be word-of-mouth or direct referrals to friends and family, and even online testimonials and reviews.
The power of word-of-mouth marketing has grown exponentially with the rise of social media and review websites. Customers can now share their opinion, which could negatively or positively affect your business. It can take up to 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience, which is why providing a good experience for your customers is vital.
Know your customers
Determining your target market will help you assess how your business can meet their needs. It’s essential to understand who your customers are, what they expect and how you can tap into that market for future sales.
Doing market research and taking the time to study industry trends is important and a key part of developing your marketing strategy. It will also help you in collect information that provides you with insights into:
- customers buying patterns
- market trends
- promotional opportunities
- identifying new customers markets
- what your competition is doing.
By having a customer focused strategy you can gain insight into your customers by personalising your services to positively affect their shopping experience. Monitor where your customers are coming from and who they are, so that you can measure the success of your marketing activities.
Provide good customer service
Research shows that consumers want more than competitive prices, they want a personal, engaging experience, one that makes them feel special and treated like an individual. Consumers are also paying more attention to the integrity of the brands they entrust with their custom, personal data, and support.
You can improve your customer service online by using the channels your customers prefer, however they also need to work for your business.
By remaining consistent with your messaging, your customers will get a feel for your business and know what to expect from you in future. Speak your customers’ language by using words they love to hear – remember not all words are equal. Persuasive words such as ‘free’, ‘new’, and ‘instantly’ can encourage customers to buy more.
Look after your loyal customers
Implement strategies to nurture existing customers, such as staying in contact with them via email marketing or letting them know about promotional events.
At the same time, look for opportunities to build your customer base, making sure you find the right balance between nurturing your current customers and finding new ones.
Providing exceptional customer service, showing your appreciation and rewarding your loyal customers will demonstrate that you value their business and will encourage them to keep buying from you.
Strategies to help build customer loyalty include:
- communicating regularly through social media, blogs or email
- providing after-sales follow-ups
- introducing loyalty cards and special discounts
- going the ‘extra mile’ and provide benefits that exceed their initial expectations
- remembering their name and personal preferences
- holding VIP customer events
- sending thank you notes
- providing opportunities for your customers to provide feedback and use this as an opportunity to improve on your services
- training staff in customer service skills and basic sales processes
Employ good staff
Employing the right staff is an important part of having a customer-centric approach, as it’s the first step towards delivering outstanding customer service.
There are many things to consider when deciding to employ staff. Attracting and selecting the right people is crucial for your business. It is also equally important to treat your employees well, if they are treated poorly, there’s a good chance they will treat your customers poorly.
Be sure to include your employees when developing your business plan and ensure they understand your vision, mission and values. Training in customer service excellence is essential.