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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Make Your Customers Fall In Love Every Day

Oh, Valentine's Day. That doe-eyed darling of a holiday that evokes both swoons and shuns depending on how one feels about love and if one sees the day as mere commercialism. We here at RME360 are Team Swoon and have focused our social media content this week on things businesses love as a tribute to dear ol' Cupid.

Out of the many things we as a business love, our customers have planted the largest flag on our collective heart. As a consumer, don't you love when your favorite business appreciates you? When you feel valued and have no doubt that you'll receive tip-top customer service? Of course you do! We all want to spend our dollars with businesses that go above and beyond to show us that we matter to more than just their bottom lines. 

So how can we make our customers fall in love with us every day of the year? Here are some ideas. 

1. Interact with customers promptly and pleasantly on social media. 

I am Starbucks' #1 brand advocate. Well, at least in my mind I am. Besides my favorite drink there, I adore how the company interacts with its loyal fans. Here's an example: 

















Nice, right? A fan felt compelled to not only pass the love for paying it forward but also to tell Starbucks about it. Within an hour (promptly), Starbucks tweeted the customer back their response (pleasantly). The company's Twitter page is full of such conversations as well as conversations with customers who are upset and Starbucks promptly and pleasantly addresses their concerns. 

Now, do I think every business has the social media team, power and presence that Starbucks does? Absolutely not. But it's easy to model your strategy around Starbucks' strategy when your business is ready to maintain a consistent connection with fans via social media. Why not learn from the best, right? 

2. Be there for your customers before, during and after their buying experiences. 

Before:

GE Capital Retail Bank's Major Purchase Shopper Study found that 81% of consumers go online to research products they are interested in before buying them. What does that mean? You need to be digitally present at the stroke of your customer's fingers. A website is a good start, but it isn't enough in 2015. Be consistently present on social media, post various types of content, including videos and images, start a blog, and use display ads as well as remarketing ads. Leave a digital trail for your customers to follow. 

During: 

Put yourself in your customer's shoes. What is excellent customer service to you? How would you want a company to earn your business and possibly a long-term connection with you? What would qualify as going above and beyond? What would inspire you to choose one business over another? Answer these questions and then do those things for your customers. 

After: 

One transaction does not equal a relationship. If you want to build a long-term connection with your customers, provide them with ongoing support. Call to check in with your customers after their purchase, provide online support chat, create multi-channel promotions targeting new customers and/or go old school and send them snail mail like thank you cards, birthday cards, etc. Recognize them as valuable to your business even after the transaction is over and they will remember you when it's time to buy again. 

3. Listen to your customers' suggestions. 

 "Wow, I wish they had..." is a phrase we've all finished with lengthy lists of our suggestions for businesses. Your prospects and customers may have that same phrase in their minds from time and time and may follow up by contacting you about their ideas. Listen to their ideas and implement them when you can. Don't be so in love with the way you do business that you ignore plausible suggestions that will satisfy customers. Starbucks has an additional Twitter profile and a website for the sole purpose of accepting such suggestions. Fans get to vote on ideas they like and get to take part in the discussion of changes with Starbucks leaders. 

4. Shine the spotlight on your customers. 

Has a customer given you an amazing testimonial? Have she said something thought provoking on social media? Does he have a success story that involves your business? Turn the spotlight over to customers with stories like these and give them the fame they deserve. You might highlight them on social media, in your newsletter or in your advertising. This will resonate not only with those customers but also with new prospects who are considering your business for their needs. 

What tips would you add to the list?

By: Susan Gail Taylor, Social Media Manager and Copywriter at RME360