In our last post, we discussed how investing in marketing strategies that boost customer retention is both valuable and profitable. Customer relationship management (CRM) can seem daunting; traditional retention strategies often enlist costly customer research that doesn’t always transfer into actionable solutions. However, new social media tools and technology has made CRM more accessible and profitable for SMB owners. Below are a few tips to help you build customer loyalty.
Today, customers are looking for companies that want to talk with them, not at them. They’ve turned away from traditional media in favor of online mediums where they can connect with companies. Incorporating social media into your marketing plan and interacting with consumers through conversations can help you boost your customer satisfaction. Ask them questions, respond to their comments and address their concerns. There are thousands of ways to engage your customers online through the free tools available.
Provide a Speaking Platform – then Listen
Customers have voices, and they want to be able to use them. By providing them with a platform to speak from, you can collect all of your customers’ comments, critiques and even problems into one place so that you can easily address each customer. Now there are also affordable tools available, such as Get Satisfaction, that are designed to help business owners manage customer satisfaction. Business owners can integrate Get Satisfaction into the company website to give consumers a central online location where they can get answers to questions, solve problems or submit requests. Solutions and answers are then collected, stored and made searchable for other customers. In doing so, you leverage a time and cost effective tool for managing customer relationships that builds trust and helps keep them happy.
Reward the customers you have, not just the new ones
Companies typically offer new customers great introductory rates or discounts to woo them, but once they have a customer, they forget about them. What’s to keep that customer from moving on to a competitor offering the same enticing deals? In order to keep customers loyal, they want to feel appreciated – if they’re going to stay in this relationship, you need to keep your business invested in them as well. Whether it’s a coupon available to all Facebook fans and Twitter followers, exclusive discounts for email subscribers or special rewards for top visitors on Foursquare, offering benefits to current customers lets them know you appreciate their business. If you care about them, they’re more likely to stay loyal to you in the future.
How do you use social media to build relationships with your customers? (or – What results have you seen from using social media to build relationships with your customers??)
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Photo Credit: Melvin Gaal