Businesses around the globe are concerned about continuity in the face of the pandemic. The economy is disrupted. Businesses worry about losing customer loyalty and having to start afresh. This is a time consuming and expensive process.
Business continuity relies on customer loyalty and relationships, which, in turn, depends on engagement. Engagement translates to effective communication. This is the key to retaining customer loyalty and business continuity.
Here are five effective communication strategies to keep your existing customer base and build new customer relationships.
#1- Social Media
Social media originated as a personalized platform. It started as a way to stay in touch with family and friends. However, over the last two decades, it morphed into a business marketing strategy. Businesses saw the opportunity to reach a broad and diverse customer base at a low cost.
Customers began recommending products, services, and brands to one another on social media. Social media became the new word-of-mouth.
It also emerged as a direct path to your target customer. Being in the right place at the right time became the new mantra for marketing. Social media, therefore, tops our list of communication strategies.
Social media is the new word-of-mouth and offers direct connectivity to target consumers. Additionally, social media also brings you many other benefits.
For one, it is the fastest and simplest way not only to reach your customers but also for them to reach out to you. Social media is where the millennial consumer is. Also, you will find the widest consumer base on this platform.
On average, 45% of the world’s population uses social media. They spend about two and a half hours per day on these platforms.
These numbers are likely to grow. The coming generations spend more and more time online. So targeting the right people is a simple matter of being available at the right place at the right time.
Social media gives you extraordinarily high visibility – all you need to do is select your audience wisely.
Not only can you reach out to your customers, but you can also forge rewarding partnerships with like-minded businesses.
Besides, where else can you leverage your SEO better than on social media? Social media platforms have a high CTR (Click Through Rate). This platform will give you healthy, organic backlinks, which will be easier to convert than any other channel.
#2- Go the extra mile
While accountants talk about controlling the maverick spend, marketers talk about adding value. The two are different, though. Value is the extra satisfaction that a customer derives from your product or service that he may not get elsewhere from your competitors.
Buying a smartphone brings a certain level of satisfaction. Buying one at a discounted price escalates it to joy. Getting a free set of blue-tooth earplugs is bliss. If your accountant calls it maverick, tell him it will fetch higher ROI in the long-term.
The value may be derived from something as small as offering a mousepad free of cost with a new PC or something more conspicuous such as offering an accessory at a discounted rate on your checkout page, or an outright discount.
Festival offers, deal of the day, no-cost EMIs, or a chance to win an iPhone 11 are all ways of adding value to the purchase.
Delivering more than you promised endears the customer to your brand. It generates empathy and builds loyalty. Continuing to do so generates trust, and trust is what brings your loyal customer back to you.
#3- Support your Customer After-Sales
After-sales service has been the bane of brands for centuries. The millennial consumer demands after-sales and customer support even more than ever before.
There are multitudes of brands out there selling the same thing you do. So, for the consumer, it is a simple matter of switching brands if something goes wrong. And as a business owner, it’s your job to prevent that from happening.
A strong customer support system reassures your customer. It lets him know that you are ready and willing to take responsibility.
And that is just the first step. Almost every website, eCommerce or not, sports a chatbot that is available to answer any questions the customer may have.
That is not all, though. You must offer multiple channels for your customer to reach out to you if he is dissatisfied or something goes wrong.
These channels include everything from social media to a 24/7 customer-care number and a dedicated support email address to a complete grievance hierarchy offering the customer an option to appeal to a higher level at each stage.
Having a system in place is by no means the end of the road. You must let your customer know that you have his back and will resolve any and every query or issue that he may have.
Amazon, for instance, lets its customers know they can return any product within 10 days. For eligible products, there are no questions asked. If your product is not eligible, they will let you know upfront.
The epitome of the eCommerce giant’s commitment towards its customers was seen when they agreed to pay 70 million USD as compensation for in-app purchases made by children without parental consent.
After-sales in the digital world is a matter of being available and taking responsibility. Being available is simple. Chatbots, mobile apps, and call centers will all work. As a business owner, you must make the right decisions when it comes to standing up and taking responsibility.
#4- Get a Mobile App
While social media is a great way to reach out to customers and engage them, it is, after all, a public platform. Any message you send must be adapted and will be visible to a diverse audience.
A more targeted strategy is to provide every customer with a personalized experience. This is possible through mobile apps.
Mobiles are personal devices, and you can anticipate preferences through in-app behavior. You can then use push notifications to let customers know about products, services, deals, and more that may interest him.
You can also leverage the data you collect through apps for email marketing campaigns. Of course, keep GDPR and other laws in mind.
When a customer receives personalized deals, discounts, and offers, his sense of satisfaction escalates, and he derives more value from his purchase.
Moreover, such offers reassure your customer of your continued support. When your customer wants to reach out to you, either with a grievance or with a request, doing so through the app is simpler.
When developing an app for your business, consider what devices and operating systems your audience uses. If you don’t have a developer team in-house, make sure that any external professionals working on your app are familiar with your business goals and your target audience. This will ensure a glitch-free and user-friendly experience to boost customer satisfaction and loyalty.
After creating the app, your next step will be to convince your customers to download and use your app. A personalized approach will work here, as well. Inform your customers of the app’s unique features and how it helps them solve a need or problem.
For example, an app for an eCommerce store enables your customers to easier track their purchases, simplifies ordering and sharing, saving items to wishlists, writing reviews, and much more.
Make sure to encourage your customers to leave reviews on app stores. The more downloads and active users your app has, the better it ranks.
On top of that, these numbers will instil confidence in new users and encourage them to download your app too.
The highly personalized and focused communication that mobile apps afford lets your customer know that you care about him and his needs. It generates ethos for your brand and endears your customer to your business.
#5- Email Marketing
Another great way to give your customers a personalized experience at a low cost to you is email marketing.
Email marketing refers to push selling by sending promotional emails to potential or existing customers. You can promote a particular product or service that may be of interest to them.
Email marketing is also used to encourage repeat visits by sending suggestive follow-up emails after a purchase has been made.
Email marketing is a highly focused and targeted communication strategy. Once you have segmented your audience, you can design emails for each segment and send them out to multiple targets at a time.
Email marketing serves several purposes besides communication with your customer. For instance, conducting an A/B test on specific customer segments is far easier with email marketing than other channels.
Moreover, email marketing does not stop once your customer is converted. You can continue to reach out for follow up offers, deals, and more.
Among all marketing strategies, building and maintaining good customer relationships tops the list. In fact, it runs parallel to all your other marketing efforts.
Without effective communication, your marketing campaigns are likely to fall short. That is because your customer is not engaged and does not relate to or trust your brand or product.
So here’s to good communication.
Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor, and a thriving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in business and tech. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.