By Megan Totka
Megan Trainor’s hit song, “All About That Bass” can teach us all a little something about business. While her song is about teaching women to love their bodies, with lyrics, “It’s all about that bass, ‘bout that bass, no treble,” changing the lyrics to, “It’s all about that base, about that base, no trouble,” gives us a nice reminder about how important it is to keep your customers happy.
It’s not an easy undertaking, but a necessary one. With 51 percent of U.S. consumers changing service providers because they were unhappy with their customer service experiences, it’s important to make customers feel valued and appreciated. Nearly half of U.S. consumers (48 percent) use third-party review websites to learn more about a company and its products or services, while one-quarter of them turn to social media.
Repeat customers spend an average of 67 percent more than a first-time buyer. The longer a customer has a relationship with you, the more they are likely to spend, and the larger the transactions are likely to be. Your repeat customers are also valuable because their word-of-mouth marketing brings more business your way.
Keeping Your Customers Engaged with Your Brand
Make sure your website functions as intended, especially if you’re selling a tangible product. Up to 30 percent of customers will leave your website if they cannot find the product they’re looking for or find your process too complex. In fact, 66 percent of customers who put things in their cart are likely to abandon it.
Keep the ordering process simple, provide access to real-time inventory if possible, and organize your product catalog clearly. If you don’t already have one, add a well-organized frequently asked questions (FAQ) section that allows customers to quickly and easily access information when they need it.
Communicate with your customers after the sale. Provide on-going support for your products or services and offer exclusive discounts to repeat customers via email marketing campaigns.
Consider implementing a customer loyalty program. Approximately 32 percent of customers say their brand loyalty has increased over the past year, and 23 percent of those customers say it’s because of a loyalty program. More than two-thirds of customers (69 percent) say their shopping decisions are driven by where they can earn loyalty points. On the business side, research shows loyalty programs can increase customer acquisition by up to 10 percent, and market share by up to 20 percent.
Tools to Help You Keep Customers Happy
Use a robust CRM to stay connected to your customers. Your platform will allow you to customize your sales and marketing efforts to various segments, personalizing the experience for your customer. With the analytics data, you can see which customers are the most valuable, see where customers are in the sales funnel, etc. You can follow up with past customers, and bring cohesiveness to your sales, marketing, and customer service teams.
Online reputation management tools help you keep an eye on what customers are saying about you and respond to comments. Even if it’s a negative issue, responding shows the person (and anyone else who sees the review after the fact) that you care. Invite the person to move the conversation to email so you can resolve the issue.
Review Trackers helps you see who’s talking about your business across a multitude of review sites including: Yelp, Foursquare®, OpenTable®, TripAdvisor®, and more.
Social Mention helps you find mentions of your business on blogs, social media websites, and more. Listen to what people are saying and watch for patterns with negative issues. You can use that insight to improve your processes.
Survey tools are a great way to get feedback from customers. Using a tool like SurveyMonkey® to find out what your customers think makes them feel appreciated and gives them a chance to communicate with you. Even if they don’t actually take the time to fill out the survey, research shows customers who are given the chance to survey are more loyal than those who are not surveyed.
Add a Help Desk to your website. 53 percent of those aged 18-34 prefer electronic customer service (live chat, email, text message, or social media) to phone support. With a service such as Zendesk, you’ll get a customer support ticketing system integrated on your website to provide a phone support alternative. Customers can submit a ticket whenever they have an issue, and keep an email record while the issue is being resolved.
Keeping your customers front and center in your business will lead to success. While you’ll never be able to keep 100 percent of your customers happy 100 percent of the time, these tactics and tools will ensure you’re headed in the right direction.
Megan Totka is the chief editor for ChamberofCommerce.com which helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Contact Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her at @MeganTotka.