Throughout your working life, you will often hear a phrase similar to ‘the customer is always right’ and where you know that to be true, it can also be an annoying rule when certain customers are being the absolute worst. However, as you rise through the ranks and reach the point where you own your own business, you come to realise that not only are that saying right, but the clients are also in charge of how you go about your work. And if you fight that fact, you could very quickly find yourself losing them.
Your company is only kept going because of your customers or clients buying your products and services. And if you go against their wishes, that funding stops – it’s as simple as that. So you need to listen to your client’s wants, what they like about your company and what they dislike so that you can use that information to better your business and tailor your services to something that will have more effect on your audience
By using user research services, you can gain a detailed and well-researched look at your sales and customer interactions so that you can see the patterns of where you are succeeding and where you are failing. These patterns can also show you where in your marketing campaign you are focusing too much on one particular audience group, or where you’re missing an opportunity to reach out to a new one.
Developing customer satisfaction and loyalty should be at the top of your to-do list.
Your customers do so much for you – as in they keep your business going. So you should definitely want to give back to them. A lot of retail companies do this through loyalty cards, where a customer builds up points as they shop and gain free stuff in return. This gives back while ensuring your customer’s loyalty; they are more likely to shop in a store where they can gain points, than one where they can’t. You can also give back with deals for your loyal customers sent through text or email, or have a particular bonus gift each year at Christmas or on their Birthdays. Places like Paperchase and The Bodyshop offer a free gift on a customer’s birthday providing that they have a loyalty card. Birthdays are the better option over Christmas, purely because you can spread the cost over the year rather than all at once. Find a cost effective way to give back.
With the data you have gathered through your research and observations you will have a good idea of what your customers really want. But to really know what you need to do to increase your customer satisfaction you have to really listen to your customers. You can do this easily by connecting with your customers through utilising social media. As a marketing tool, social media is your first line of defence – it takes away the wall between you and your customers and lets them see your company as a person, at least it is run by someone. Someone who listens to their comments, and even their complaints, and doesn’t just brush it all under the rug, but actually talks to them and finds out what can be improved. The idea is to then take that information and actually implement it into your work – otherwise what’s the point in listening and asking the questions if you’re just going to throw it away?
Your company will revolve within many different community circles. Your local community, the industry community and any branches you have or suppliers you are close to. And these groups are a huge part of your businesses success. You’ll find that you will be targeting many people within these communities as your audience, so it just makes sense to become actively involved in these groups. You can do this locally by sponsoring local events, contributing to local communities and hiring locally. On a larger scale, you can sponsor from afar, raise awareness, piggy back advertise and even give discounts to suppliers. Not only will this give you a trusted voice in these communities, but it will also work in your favour to improve your reputation. One of the key advertising tools any business has is word of mouth. You want people to be talking about you, and saying good things. And the only way to get that happening is to live up to those comments and recommendations.
Your customers are your business, without them you have no company. So make it your mission to give back to them, gain and retain their loyalty, and reward that continued support.