Customers are not statistics. Consumers are more conscious about their relationships with businesses. I personally switched ISPs, despite lower rates, because their customer service was locally based. It’s that human connection principle I share with millions of customers. Here are 10 ways to create/improve the personal connection your business has with your customers.
1. Don’t Be Nice
When you are grocery shopping, you can usually tell which workers are helpful because it’s their job description. They’re there just for the paycheque. We say hello, and they ask how am I doing. I say “good,” then ask how they are doing. They say they are good. Awkward silence follows. This “social nicety” is becoming too common. Know your customers on a deeper level and skip social formalities.
2. Welcome Them
Whether you own a brick or mortar store, an eCommerce or other online service, make your visitors feel welcome. Help them feel hopeful about their decision to do business with you. Make them feel warm and happy about their choice.
3. Keep the Loop Turning
Update your customers about what’s going on with your business. This doesn’t mean sending them a message every time you have a sale or promotion. But think about sending them a helpful newsletter about your industry or sending them material that will help them make their lives easier. MailChimp and HootSuite are two tools you can use to do so.
Giving your blog or website a personalized touch is one of the best things you can do to create connection with customers. People like people – who knew? It gives you a chance to use the personal stories from your existing customers via social proof strategies.
If I want something on Amazon, I’ll read customer reviews first. More than 98% of my buying decision is based on whether or not other people gave the product a good rating. If there is a hefty amount of bad ratings, I search elsewhere. In theory, people judge your business on whether previous customers have had good experiences or not.
6. Talk Shop
The term “facetime” is merely business jargon for “having a conversation” face to face with someone. Sadly, many of us tend to associate a face to face with a text to text, email to email, and no actual physical presence is involved. Personally, interacting with people at trade shows or live events makes your business more real, and more likely to inspire trust in peoples’ minds.
7. Know Them
I love local mom and pop stores. Everyone knows each other. The cashier may even be a family friend who knows the name of your uncle’s sister’s dog’s father’s favorite food. Try and emulate the experience of owners who knows your entire family by their first name. Business text messaging will help you get to know your customers, how they want to.
When you’re talking to someone, do you enjoyed being ignored? Nobody does. This is why, whenever you or your staff talks with prospects or customers, 90% of their efforts should be on listening to what the prospect or customer is actually saying.
9. The Extra Mile
I love my ISP. Sadly, their customer service doesn’t always meet the mark. There have been several times where I put the phone down and took my time going to the bathroom. Imagine my surprise when I picked the phone back up and, lo and behold, I was still on hold. This undermines the importance of holding your reps accountable for waiting times.
Developing a deeper connection with your customers will take time, as do many important things in life. This is why you must slowly take the time to show your customer/prospect how your product/service makes their lives easier and better.
Think about the time you hosted a dinner for friends and family. As the night wrapped up, did you quickly send them out door with a banal departure? No, you probably gave them a firm handshake and/or hug and asked them to stay in touch. Applying this generosity to your customers will help your customer relationships in the long run.