How to Connect with Your Customers (and Why It’s Important)
Happy customers are the lifeline of any business. A customer with a smile on their face could easily result in more business, especially considering the power of word-of-mouth marketing. That's why connecting with your customer is essential. It allows you to understand their pain points and address them.
Listening to and connecting with customers could also give you a competitive advantage. The modern-day consumer wants to feel heard and appreciated. Maintaining a strong connection makes it easier to turn first-time customers into brand loyalists.
Here are a few things you can do to win customers over:
Embrace Personalized Experiences
A one-size-fits-all approach won't cut it if you want to connect with customers. People can tell if you haven’t taken them into consideration, and it will reduce their satisfaction. About 70% of customers report feelings of frustration when faced with impersonal shopping experiences. Most customers want to be looked after individually. Measures as simple as personalizing their shopping experience, content, and any emails sent to them can help.
This is why sites like Amazon and Netflix thrive — every customer receives content that's curated for them. The trick to achieving high levels of personalization lies in data collection. Consider segmenting your customers into specific demographics, which can be based on gender, location, age, and even psychographic data. You can then create content and website segments that rhyme with these demographics.
Streamline Processes with Technology
Customers want your products or services quickly and in the most efficient way possible. “The right technology powerfully enhances the customer experience,” says Kevin Grauman, President & CEO of QLess. “It cuts down inefficiencies, reduces costs and errors, and increases customer satisfaction.”
The trick lies in selecting the right tools to streamline your services. Look at areas where your business lags and research the best tools. For instance, if you spend too much time in meetings while delegating tasks, you could use popular project management tools to increase efficiency. The more streamlined your processes, the more attractive your business, which results in higher customer engagement rates.
Provide Reliable Customer Service
It shouldn't come as a surprise that 97% of business executives consider customer satisfaction a prime ingredient for success in today's customer-centric world. When your customers are the reason why you are still in business, their opinion matters. From a small complaint to issues with the checkout process, you need to be there to walk alongside your customers. Poor customer service is one of the top contributing factors for chargebacks.
The people you hire for your customer service team are as important as what you tell customers. These people should calmly and easily talk to customers. They should know how to diffuse situations, respond to criticism, and keep customers engaged. Having a team that speaks your customer's native tongue can also help you offer an authentic customer service experience.
You should research what makes your customers tick. Some of the insights you gather could help you think outside the box — which often pays significant dividends! To gather this information, you should respond to social media posts, respond to reviews, and directly contact customers with complaints. Most importantly, your customer service team should be easy to contact. Nothing is more frustrating than struggling to get in touch with customer support when you’re already dissatisfied with the service or product you’ve received.
Find Ways to Appreciate Customers
Among the best ways to connect with customers is to appreciate them. “Customers are the core of your business. You wouldn't be where you are without them,” says Dan Broudy, CEO of rushIMPRINT. “Appreciating them in personalized ways can go much further than you think.”
There are multiple ways to show appreciation, from sending custom gifts to writing targeted emails. You could also offer discounts to brand loyalists or launch specific days to celebrate customers.
Thanking customers works through the principle of reciprocity, which influences decision-making in the average consumer. Clients feel like they owe you something in return for a corporate gift, for instance. It also makes them feel that they are getting more from your business than they are giving. Best of all, appreciation creates a sense of community, which further helps strengthen the connection you have with customers.
Put the Customer First
When running a business, the customer's needs come first. As long as they are happy, you will be happy, too — and your business will thrive. Conducting ample research could help you understand customer pain points, giving you insights to nurture a strong bond with customers.
About the Author
Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She often covers developments in HR, business communication, recruiting, real estate and finance, but also enjoys writing about travel, interiors and events.