Your customers are a major part of your business. Without them, you wouldn’t have people to buy your products or schedule your services. So you need to keep customers happy, and to do this, you must connect with them continually. They’ll realize that you care about their needs and their opinions, and they’ll keep coming back to your company. So try some of these ideas to help you better connect with your customers.
Get Their Feedback
First, reach out to your customers for their feedback. If they’ve had a good experience, they’ll want to let you know. But if something has gone wrong, you should definitely address that at once. You can provide feedback options by email, phone, website, mail or in person to customers who purchase your products or services. Don’t expect a full response, but do take the comments you receive seriously, and use them to help you plan for the future and make necessary changes.
You may also occasionally send out broader surveys to get a range of feedback from your previous and existing customers. Have a company that specializes in survey designs create some options for your business, and choose the one that best fits your needs. Then send out an email and/or post the survey on your website. You could also have paper copies available at your business for “on the ground” customers. The same company may be able to help you gather and interpret all the data into reports that you can use in your business strategies.
Always communicate well with your customers. Try to respond to emails within a 24-hour period, for example, and even sooner if at all possible. Always be polite in your responses both by email and on the phone. When you’re meeting with customers in person, do your best to help them without being too forceful to make a sale. Customers appreciate assistance but not pushiness. If you give people a way to leave comments on your website or social media, try to respond to them if you can. Commenters will appreciate the personal attention. Do, however, delete inappropriate remarks so that no one gets offended.
Handle Complaints Fairly
Sometimes customer communication may involve complaints. In those cases, handle the situation fairly. If the customer is right, fix things at once, and provide a coupon for future purchases and a sincere apology. If the customer is not correct, be polite about explaining the reality of the situation. You can still offer a coupon or other promotion to make up for the problem.
Promotions, in fact, are a great way of connecting with your customers as a general rule. Make these a regular part of your sales strategy. You can post specials on your website and social media pages, mail out postcards with coupons or attach valuable discounts to email newsletters. Tuck coupons in your customers’ shopping bag, or have a stack sitting on the counter.
Get creative with the promotions you offer, too. Percentage off and buy-one-get-one deals are always welcome. But you might also try holding contests with the winners getting a special discount. Host special events, too, for holidays, your businesses’ anniversary or just because. Offer refreshments, games, prizes and, of course, sales.
Form a Club
Finally, for customers who return to your business again and again, do something extra special. Form a club just for them. You can make it a type of customer loyalty program. Offer membership to those who have made a certain number of purchases or spent a particular amount in the past year. Issue membership cards and a regular newsletter, and plan events and promotions just for club members. Everyone enjoys belonging to an exclusive club, so make sure all your customers know how they can join.
Your customers are the heart of your business, so reach out to them in new ways. The connections you form now can make a huge difference for your company and your customers for many years to come.