Satisfying your customers is key, and having a solid strategy about how you’re going to engage them is important. In order to establish a philosophy about how to best maintain a long term engagement with your customers, you need to take a few key ideas into account. Most of these core principles stem from high standards of communication utilizing the best tools available, and a solid understanding of your customers’ needs. Here are a few tips on how you can develop and maintain a loyal program of long term consumer engagement.
Communication Is Key to Long Term Consumer Engagement
Forbes pins communication as a top priority, advising businesses to routinely provide customers with updates that are both positive and negative. No news is not good news, whether you have to deliver a setback or an achievement. There are many reasons to stay in touch with customers. Not only is it a practical method of moving projects along and making sure everyone is on the same page, but it’s also an important part of presenting your business in a positive light. Trust is just as important as communication when you’re dealing with customers, and you can reaffirm that quality by never falling off the radar.
Beyond Your E-mail Inbox
The Marketing Donut recommends that for effective management of customer relationships, you should use every possible channel to communicate with your customers. E-mail alone isn’t good enough anymore, and utilizing other modes of interaction, such as video conferencing or even social media, makes them feel valued and in the know. This is essential to maintaining a positive feeling in your business dealings. Video conferencing in particular has become a very popular mode of business communications, with providers such as Bluejeans and others offering select services specifically designed with consumer engagement in mind. Blue Jeans for customer management offers many different options tailored specifically for customer communication. It’s essential to stay on the cutting edge of this type of technology, since it will push your customer relationships forward and into the 21st century.
Implement Your Game Plan Innovatively
John Tschohl, Desk.com blogger and self-described “guru of customer service,” is an expert in the consumer engagement and service industry. While developing an effective, long-term strategy, he recommends taking a three-pronged approach:
- Product. View your service as a product, and realize that your customers have a choice in a competitive market.
- The Boss. Your customer is really your boss. This is an essential part of the ideology behind customer service, and placing it at the center of your company’s core is extremely important since customers are what drive your business.
- Reliability. Maintain consistent performance to meet and ideally exceed your customer’s expectations time after time.
These core principles are always good to keep in mind when you’re planning a longer term approach to your customer communication and engagement program. Always keep your eye on the prize when it comes to the product, since that’s ultimately the core of what the customer pays for. However, a huge part of maintaining business isn’t just a great product, but the package that comes with it. Customers don’t want to have to feel like they’re bothering you or that they have to hunt you down. They really are the boss, and when they snap their fingers, you should expect to jump. And last, but not least, reliability is also of equal importance. All of these elements can be better achieved using a technology like video conferencing due to the fact that it’s immediate, it’s user friendly given current advances with browser compatibility and other multi-platform availability, and it puts a face to the business.
Don’t Be Afraid of Feedback
It’s easy to send feedback that’s watered down in an e-mail, because no one likes confrontation. This includes your customers. However, although it might seem counterintuitive, you should encourage your customers to give you the good, the bad, and the ugly all at once. Using a video conference to get feedback can better facilitate this once you establish a rapport. It’s easier to rap with a colleague that you’ve worked on a project with if that’s the type of relationship you establish with customers. Don’t make them feel like you’re on opposing sides, just because they’re paying you for a product you provide. Sit down for a video meeting, armed with a pen and paper, and tell them you want the real feedback. It’ll help you in the long run and strengthen your other customer relationships.
In short, establishing an effective and functional consumer engagement policy requires a more proactive approach. Using tools like video conferencing and other types of communication methods that go beyond traditional e-mail correspondence not only facilitates a better relationship, but also helps to build trust and belief in your product. While many businesses are mostly focused on rolling out a great product, when you’re dealing with customers, you need to put a personality to the business as well as what you’re selling.