Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Partner Post: Happy Days -- 6 Tips to Get Your Client Base Smiling and the Numbers Climbing

With the onset of emerging technologies, the game may be altogether different but the need for customer loyalty remains. So how can it be accomplished these days? From social media to CRMs, the possibilities are there -- they just need capable individuals to implement them.  Experience is telling, and ours has revealed the following six essential nuggets of advice that will set you on the right road to building loyalty and numbers in one fell swoop.

Customer relationship management software, or a CRM, is a great way to streamline your processes, track customer engagement and essentially get to know your clientele a lot better. When used properly, a business can easily analyze interactions with customers in order to better anticipate their needs before they realize they have any. Capturing the right data at the right time will go a long way toward reaching the right people and giving them exactly what they want. A smooth and seamless relationship will result in happy customers, more contacts and a better business model. It also aids in communication.

Building a reliable and up-to-date database of customers' contact details with CRM will enable you to better communicate with your customers, which is key. Whether it's an email newsletter, a birthday card, or a friendly appointment reminder, keeping in contact will certainly increase the possibility of engagement. Dedicate time to keep the info accurate and fresh, and send out a regular e-newsletter that's informative and interesting. Remember not to get too caught up in bragging about your business. While info on sales and promotions are great, it's also good to be as educational as possible.

Reward Programs
Rewards work, period. Whether it's finding a toy inside a happy meal or getting your eighth sandwich free, the old model is tried and true and can be incorporated with today's technologies to make your customers smile and keep coming back for more. Online businesses can assign promotional rewards, too, like codes that earn 15% off after the first purchase or apps that can track visits and assign awards accordingly. Some businesses reward customers for tagging them on Instagram, reTweeting them, or "checking in" on FourSquare. Everyone loves free stuff, and customers are far more likely to keep coming back if you give them an incentive to do so.

Charitable Efforts
Everyone feels better about spending money if they know a percentage of a sale will go toward a charity. While this may not be a suitable business model for small businesses to follow all the time, perhaps you could choose a week or a month to raise awareness for something that is genuinely important to you. Maybe a loved one had cancer or has Alzheimer's, or maybe you're passionate about pets. If you look around, there's bound to be an issue that will have meaning for you and give your business more purpose. Customers will see that, identify with it and view their interactions with your company in a positive light.

Online, Social Presence
Nowadays, it's not enough to simply have a website, although every business should definitely have an up-to-date, easy-to-navigate and helpful one. But those are basics. Growing an audience and getting to know your current one is increasingly reliant on a social presence, too. Use a Facebook page to promote blog posts (that you should be writing at least two to four times a week), and use Twitter to expand your circle and promote like-minded Tweeters. Engaging with your audience on social platforms is a great way to raise your profile and make your business more personable and accessible, which results in a loyal customer base.

While online platforms are efficient in spreading the word and putting more customers at your fingertips, it's also easy to hide behind the technology. Don't get mistaken for a nameless corporation. Instead, make it clear that real people run the show. One way to do this is through your website. The 'About Us' page should have interesting introductions to key members of staff, with photographs included. Many users love to click on the links to meet the people who are behind the operation, and the ability to associate a face or three with the business allows for a connection to be made. Don't be shy about your identity, and customers won't be shy about giving their loyal business.

And remember, while it's important to get new eyes on your business, keeping the current ones happy and loyal should also be a priority. Too many businesses fail at this, and those customers move on, telling everyone they know along the way. Keeping the customer service topnotch, both on and offline, and being a nice business to deal with, will reflect in your current and future numbers.

Diana Gomez is the Marketing Coordinator at Lyoness America, where she is instrumental in the implementation of marketing and social media strategies for USA and Canada. Lyoness is an international shopping community and loyalty rewards program, where businesses and consumers benefit with free membership and money back with every purchase. Check out Lyoness on Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. One you could add to your Communicate section is timeliness. It's hard to have a great relationship with a company that doesn't respond even after a week of having contacted them.

    I've actually been having issues with a few companies that I contracted services with. Some are fantastic at responding, others have taken several days to give me a canned response and it's incredibly frustrating.

    If a company isn't timely about their communications with customers (a space where CRM helps a ton), their relationships with those customers will go out the window.

    Brad Hodson