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Business writing for entrepreneurs (Part 4)

By News Express on 31/10/2016

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The data speaks for itself: Only 37% of brands received good or excellent customer experience index scores in 2012, whereas 64% of brands got a rating of “OK,” “poor,” or “very poor” from their customers. 

As many as 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. Up to 60% of consumers will pay more for a better customer experience. Average annual value of each customer relationship lost to a competitor or abandoned is about $289 approximate.

It’s quite clear that now is a good time to solidify your relationship with your customers in a meaningful way. Here are some ways to help make your customers fall in love with your business.

1. Treat your Customers Right – Genuinely Interact

Happy customers who get their issue resolved tell 4 to 6 people about their experience. So that’s a way to significantly influence the word of mouth about your business. Don’t act as a nameless or faceless business; genuinely talk with your customers as a person representing the business. Address your customers by name, and tell them your name at the very beginning of your interaction.

Talk to your customers as you would in person, not like you would in a press release. Examples of this are noticeable when it comes to customer service on social media where the genuine shine through and the others seem forced and uptight, which is the opposite of being “social.” Some of our banks do this well on Twitter and Facebook, ensuring all customer concerns are answered in a timely manner with a friendly and personal response, signed by the employee who’s doing the tweeting.

2. Don’t Come on Too Strong – Respect Your Customers

A third of consumers say they experience rude customer service at least once a month, and 58% of them tell their friends. This is exactly how word of mouth can work against your company’s reputation for the long term. It’s very important to be respectful of a customer’s mood when trying to resolve an issue they have with your company.

Keeping your patience is key to giving your customer the time to air out their issue. And, in turn, it creates the opportunity for you to help resolve the issue and make them comfortable. The more comfortable the customer is the more likely they will share valuable feedback that can help prevent similar issues from occurring again in the future.

3. Always Listen – Hear What Your Customers are Saying

At a time when it’s easy to have a two-way dialogue with your customers, it’s important to truly listen. When listening to your customers, take into account what changes your organisation should make from this feedback, and then follow through. Your customers are the lifeblood of your organisation, and not dealing with the reasonable requests could cause backlash.

Use the following methods to gather feedback from your customers:

Surveys

Focus Groups

Observation

Point of Sale

Social Media

Communities and Groups

Email and Web Forms.

4. Continue to Satisfy – Offer Ongoing Support and Specials

The #1 reason for customer attrition is dissatisfaction with customer service. Do everything in your power to provide excellent service to your customers on an ongoing basis. Respond quickly and enthusiastically, and be ready to present a special offer or discount with the hope of up-selling the customer to buy more.

There’s never any reason to slow down on satisfying your audience, especially when they are chatting with you live over the phone. It’s important to note that 81% of companies with strong capabilities and competencies for delivering customer experience excellence are outperforming their competition. Take note, customer satisfaction is a key differentiator in a sea of other companies.

Besides offering support, ongoing specials will continue to help enchant and satisfy your customers for the long term. Create engaging multi-channel promotions centered around discounts, giveaways, sweepstakes, and contests. Distribute these offers via email, social media, print, in-store, and across your other marketing channels for full exposure.

5. Treat a Customer Like a Valued Partner – Communication is Two Way

As previously mentioned, take your customer’s feedback seriously and act upon reasonable requests. What’s the point of listening if you are not going to act on that feedback? Make sure it’s clear that you want your customer’s feedback and that your business truly values them as a partner.

If you are looking for an example of how to show your customer that their opinion matters, look at what the Buffer app team is doing. Buffer app is a social media management tool that helps businesses and individuals schedule their content for the best times to share and get engagement. The Buffer blog features a variety of quality content focused on marketing, achieving happiness, and a monthly series known as the Happiness Report.

This report highlights how the Buffer team is managing customer support each month by what worked well, what didn’t work well, what they plan to work on for the future, and finally, a request for feedback from their customers. This is a lesson for all businesses on how to be completely transparent and actively allow your customers to partake in improving your product for the future. Focusing on your customer to this degree is a major way to strengthen their trust, loyalty, and overall love for your company.

This article will continue in other versions in the coming weeks, however you can contact me for business advisory services and training – send me a message via WhatsApp or SMS.

•Lawrence Nwaodu is a small business expert and enterprise consultant, trained in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, with an MBA in Entrepreneurship from The Management School, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, and MSc in Finance and Financial Management Services from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Netherlands. Mr. Nwaodu is the Lead Consultant at IDEAS Exchange Consulting, Lagos. He can be reached via nwaodu.lawrence@hotmail.co.uk (07066375847).

Source News Express

Posted 31/10/2016 8:36:54 PM

 

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