What this post is about
- Marketing alone is no longer enough to win, convince, and retain customers
- First of all, it is important to address the customer in a friendly manner: approach them openly!
- Address questions in detail and provide sufficient information
- Make communication as personal as possible - even in your acquisition campaigns
- Ask customers for feedback, take it to heart, and implement it
It could be so simple: Launching a smart product with an unmistakable USP is certainly every company's dream. In reality, however, things often turn out differently. Companies have to realize that a sophisticated product is not enough to gain the full attention of customers.
To acquire new customers, marketing measures are often the top item on a lengthy to-do list. Once this step has been successfully implemented, the next hurdle is to turn the newly acquired buyers into loyal regular customers - i.e., right after acquisition comes retention. But discount campaigns or member benefits rarely work wonders. The key to a solid customer base lies in special positioning and the development of certain soft skills.
Not all customers immediately identify themselves as new customers. An active customer approach is therefore required in every industry - be it online store, retail, or food. Ask about the first visit to the store or the first contact with your service. It will create the impression that there is explicit interest in the person, and that your customer is not just a random number.
Responding to the customer and thus showing them appreciation simply proves sensitivity. This applies to face-to-face communication as well as to Support. Try asking a question to find out what the customer is looking for and what their intentions are. If the Support agent knows more about the true motivations of the customer and user, their wishes can be addressed much more precisely. After all, it is rarely just one problem that needs to be solved, but more about a broader goal that the customer wants to achieve.
Show appreciation that your customer has taken the time to contact you. In retail, for example, you can provide a detailed explanation of products to help the prospect make a final purchase decision. This activating communication is extremely important and can be done in any business.
To respond appreciatively to questions, consider these three points:
- Take enough time and don't rush anything. Customers notice this quickly, which never has a positive effect on the customer's impression.
- Respond to all inquiries, and,
- Explain even the most obvious things. (You never know what distractions made the customer miss the elephant in the room).
You can also implement the same strategies digitally in your helpdesk. Detailed guides in the knowledge base lead the customer through the product database or directly to the new product. Step by step, click by click, image by image.
Market segmentation and the subsequent personal communication are the way to go in marketing. They form the basis from which empathy, interest, and thus long-term business relationships grow. At Zammad, we believe in a mix of automation and individual contact and therefore allow our Support agents to send their responses more quickly with the help of text modules. This saves time while still offering the possibility to compile the carefully crafted modules individually. This way, agents can find their individual style while benefitting from the experience of their colleagues and meeting the specifications of the company.
In addition, it is possible to give the customer immediate feedback by means of automatic confirmations ("Auto reply: Message received") and to actively manage expectations: When can he expect an answer, and from whom? This way, customers know that their problem is being taken seriously. The actual response to the inquiry should then be structured and always provide an open ear.
Getting relevant feedback is another important part of communication strategies. Survey tools such as SurveyMonkey, Formstack, or LimeSurvey are helpful to get a general overview. If you want honest feedback, you should go for individual follow-up questions that are targeted to the purchase or user experience. General evaluation questions along the lines of "How do you rate our service?" with response scales of 1 to 10 provide less qualitative information. Instead, follow up with a message asking for brief, personal feedback.
Never underestimate the impact of first-time customer opinions. If you value honest statements and authentic feedback, it is best to follow up directly after the first contact or purchase. Products, content, and services are never evaluated more directly and openly. Admittedly, that's not always pleasant, but very helpful for improving your services.
Unforeseen things happen, as do technical failures. We know this too. Such moments put us to the test. Often, however, the one who suffers most is the customer. An apology for the complications is a matter of honor. But anyone who relies on kind words alone and hopes that the customer is satisfied is mistaken. Errors should be fixed within a manageable time frame. New customers will tolerate delays only for a short period.
The phrase "The customer is king" has not lost its meaning in times of social media and digital communication. On the contrary. A good first impression guarantees short-term success, but this success must be constantly continued. Social values set the example: recognition, appreciation, caring, a sympathetic ear, and the admission of obvious mistakes add up to the best formula for long-term cooperation at eye level.