Your customers are literally your source of income.
When they are happy, you’ll have more business, get paid faster, and enjoy referrals. When they aren’t, you might see sales plummet and notice the competition getting busier and busier.
But, how do you keep them happy?
First, you have to make time for them, and then there are several strategies to turn customer engagements to customer conversions.
Here are a few examples from today’s Hunch Blog.
Make time for your customers
Time. We all have exactly the same amount, but we don’t always use it wisely.
If you are spending more time on “back end” processes than you are facing your customers, it’s time to change a few things.
You can save time by automating recurring IT Operations tasks, such as IT automation workflows, payroll and supply ordering. You can also shave off a few extra hours on one-time duties, like forming an LLC.
Speaking of your LLC, not only will you have less paperwork once your business structure is established, you can also save time learning your state regulations by using a formation service like ZenBusiness.
You also save money, which you can then put toward marketing, customer service, and other areas that will have a greater impact on the customer experience.
Know your market
Not everyone is your customer.
While this might be hard to hear, it’s true. It’s also true that you can’t please everyone all the time.
This is why it’s so important to define your market niche. This is essentially a profile of your “ideal” or average customer.
For example, if you sell reasonably priced silver jewelry, your target demographic may be moderate-income women that work in an office. Or if you are offering digital marketing services for roofing contractors, it makes sense to tailor your offers to construction companies.
Once you know who you are selling to, you can then tailor your content and campaigns to capture their attention.
Customized, targeted ads may cost more to create, but you will convert more customers and spend less time trying to make your products or services fit where they don’t.
Be present where they are
While you do not want to put your products or services in the wrong place, you do want to put them in the right place.
Once you know your market, you can better determine where to advertise.
In today’s digital age, this is often on social media. Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms are great places to advertise and engage with your customers.
Use customer reviews to your advantage
Customer reviews are an important part of your company’s overall health.
According to review collection SaaS The Review Solution, shoppers today use reviews to make decisions.
Your reviews can also boost your sales and, importantly, give you an opportunity to interact with your clients. You can even turn a negative review into a positive experience.
When a customer engages on your social media or directory site, you can respond with a heartfelt apology, thank them for their feedback, and offer up an invitation to contact you privately so that you can have a chance to make it right.
If nothing else, this shows other customers that you are paying attention and are willing to communicate.
Say hello every now and then
If your customers aren’t hearing from you unless they are standing at your cash register with their credit card out, then they aren’t thinking about you any other time.
You may be able to encourage more frequent sales and referrals by reaching out and engaging with your customers every once in a while. A birthday postcard, an anniversary coupon, or a promotional email with a link to free resources related to your business will all be appreciated. While sending an email consider using DMARC setup to avoid being sent to the spam folder and sending only secure emails.
But, how do you know when to reach out?
One idea is to utilize a customer relationship management software. This is a program that can help with the practical aspect of business, such as tracking customer orders, and also keep up with personal information, such as their birthdays or personal goals. You can use popular CRM software like Hubspot or its alternatives.
Having this type of insight is a great way to perpetuate holistic customer relationships.
You can also use your software to track correspondence across platforms so that you can keep up with the conversation whether it happens via email, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, or a combination of all of these.
Honesty builds trust.
This is a simple sentiment offered by live answering service provider Always Answered. And, it rings true no matter what industry you are in.
Lying to your customers can get you into hot water, but being honest, even when it’s unpleasant, will help you get out of it.
For the most part, customers understand that snags happen. Materials can arrive late, employees cannot show up for work, and unexpected issues might create lower-than-expected quality or slower delivery times.
Although nobody wants to admit when they are wrong, doing so in an honest and open conversation with your customers is a smart move that will help keep them happy, even if they’ve had a negative experience. You may also think about running some employee engagement surveys to verify if there are any bottlenecks in your process so you can solve them quickly.
Offer unrivaled support
Being honest only goes so far.
To keep your customers happy, you also have to offer support and keep your word when you say you are going to make something right.
If possible, provide a way for your customers to reach you during business hours. This could be via business phone, chat, or email. If you don't have your in-house team, you can always consider reaching out to popular phone answering services and letting them help you keep your customers completely satisfied.
Have a clear policy for returning inquiries, which you should do within no more than 24 hours, barring weekends and holidays.
Other ways to offer the best customer service are to become an expert in your industry and to provide your customers with plenty of self-serve options.
A free, downloadable instruction manual or a follow-up email with a link to frequently asked questions/troubleshooting advice on your customer’s scheduled delivery day are two examples. Also, consider being proactive with your customers as a form of support. By asking your users for feedback on how to improve your games, you can improve customer satisfaction scores by 23%.
If you want to keep your customers happy and engaged, you have to first know them.
Then, meet them on the platforms where they already are.
You also have to put emphasis on customer service, and don’t forget to reply openly to reviews, even when they make you cringe.
Competition is fierce in virtually all industries, and the way you treat your customers today determines whether they stay with you, or not, tomorrow.
Vanessa Holwell and her husband, Rick, created HiringSquad.net after losing their jobs during the financial crisis in 2008. The site is designed to be a forum for people to share advice on how to get hired, provide job search resources, and give you the tools you need to get the job you want.