With many companies looking to regain their footing after another challenging economic year, it should come as no surprise that putting Customer Relationship Management (CRM) skills at the forefront will be as important as ever.
As a business, what are you going to do to make the customer experience even better for those who come to your company looking to buy?
The first step to a positive experience for both you and your customers is successfully branding your product.
Do You Gamble or Play it Close to the Vest?
While many companies scaled back their marketing efforts when dollars got tight this year, others saw an opportunity to take advantage of the tough times and gain an edge on the competition.
When it comes to branding, it is more important than ever to make your product stand out. Differentiating your product from the competition is important in order to catch the eye of the consumer and lead them first to your business.
Secondly, keep in mind that even though the economy appears to be rebounding to a degree as we enter the New Year (small dip in unemployment, fewer jobless claims), many individuals are still only spending where necessary. With that being the case, what value can you provide the consumer?
When consumers are worried about their financial security as many have been in the last few years, they are in need of reassurance. Consumers are not likely to make binge purchases; many want the sense of making sensible purchases, control, security and simplicity, leading them to be more frugal when it comes to their buying habits.
Social Media and Customers
Businesses would also be wise to employ a social media presence if they have not already done so.
Social media, be it Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or another program, is a great way to engage the customer and find out what they like and what they don’t. You may or may not want to employ someone in your company on a full-time basis to oversee this area, but at the least it should be attended to on a part-time basis.
More and more companies are using the social media platforms to find out what their customers like and dislike about their products, answer customer questions, and provide informative details on their products.
Customers have a lot of options with which to choose from, so how are you going to set yourself apart from your rivals?
The key here is making the customer experience worthwhile enough where they want to keep coming back time and time again. Among the things to ask and be able to answer are:
- Do your employees put your customers first or are they an after-thought?
- Do your employees who work the phones treat the customers like they’d want to be treated, or are they short and rude with them?
- Do your employees provide the necessary answer/s when a customer has a question about a product?
- Finally, what are you doing to reward your customers for their loyalty to your business?
A customer will continue to come back over and over again if they like the service and feel the prices are reasonable.
It is important as a business owner to treat returning customers properly and reward them for their continued patronage, be it through special rewards programs like discounts and the like. There is a reason this particular customer came back to you for purchases, so never forget that.
CRM is not brain surgery, so don’t make it harder than it has to be.
About the Author
Dave Thomas, who covers among other items starting a small business and business proposals, writes extensively for Business.com, an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.