In previous articles, we have discussed in length the huge importance of valuing your customers. This article aims to go beyond that by explaining how to put your customers at the tippy top of your priority list in an effort to become a Customer-First company. Dealerships and organizations who have adopted this concept are among the most successful and it all starts with a keen understanding of the customer experience.
Note that there is no exact outline, but there are steps you can take towards becoming a customer-first company. Here they are:
Create a customer friendly culture throughout your business. The first step towards customer centralization is unifying and strengthening your team. You may be wondering how addressing your team first makes for a customer-first system. It seems counter intuitive, but teams that work cohesively are known to put forth the best customer service efforts. Align you team to customer centralization; step one, complete.
Inspire and monitor customer-created marketing content. Why not allow your customers to do some of the work for you? People love to share their experiences so creating something like a testimonial page where folks can share their stories is a great marketing strategy. Word-of-mouth advertising is a powerful sentiment towards your business. Whether its a written review or a community conversation, striving towards customer evangelism works to glorify your business to potential customers while also lifting some of the marketing workload off your team. The monitoring portion of this strategy involves ensuring that the customer has a positive experience to share and rectifying any mistakes that could cause negative commentary.
Offer self-service where appropriate. Rarely is it appealing to call and be directed through a bunch of numbers just to be put on hold for a customer service rep. And uh-oh, what if that question comes at a time when no one is there to answer? That can be really frustrating. Customers want an immediate response to their queries and the Savvy ones will often try to solve them on their own. Sometimes that means reaching out to fellow customers who may have insight to offer. Setting up a community forum is a great way to enable your customers to discuss matters within the community, near and far. MasterCraft's Team Talk is a great example of this. Another, perhaps more extensive method of implementing a self-service outlet is making a series of videos that illustrate topics from product specs, to how-to's. A video-based platform is a great resource for those who want information fast. Plus, it's a great way to generate web traffic.
Always consider the voice of the customer when making decisions. This is a huge step towards securing customer loyalty and boosting Lifetime Customer Value(LCV); both of which are known to compound bottom lines of their affiliated businesses. By asking for the opinions and general feedback of your customer base, it reinforces the notion that your business puts them first. When your company reaches out to your customers, it becomes obvious that you are invested in them. Like all healthy relationships of any kind, a democratic approach to decision making is the best way to make sure everyone’s needs and wants are met. Customers are likely to stick around when they feel valued and heard. Additionally, the insight gained from your customers' feedback is invaluable and often offers solutions and strategies that you and your team could have otherwise overlooked.
Every customer should believe that your company’s goal is to reach their needs and desires completely, even before they have entered your store or come to your website on their own. Research has shown that at least 60% of customers are more likely to reach out to companies whose marketing content shows their personal needs and goals over its own business goals. When creating marketing promotions, always refer to the customer experience before finalizing and launching.
5 Things to avoid almost always:
Stale headlines - Being boring, especially in an industry that is inherently exciting is a surefire way to create a disconnect.
Being too self-promotional - It goes without saying that focusing on 'thy self' is the opposite of putting your customers first: and it is just plainly off-putting.
Guessing what your audience wants - Regardless of how experienced you are in your field, it is always best to make sure you are accurate in your marketing pursuits. Without the proper R&D it is easy to miss a target.
Mentioning your sales and profit goals - As silly as this seems to mention, some may believe that waving annually earnings around will prove how successful a company is and drive more customers. The only place where that MIGHT hold true is the stock market or if you are looking for investors, but in terms of marketing, your customers don't want to hear about it. They want to be treated as people, not a dollar amount or something to be victorious over.
Rely solely on self-service methods of addressing needs - While some prefer to bypass the customer service lines, others need or want assistance from a knowledgeable representative. It's important to find a balance between your varying customers' preferences.
Being a customer-first company means just that; putting the customer first. In doing so, you'll find that your customers will do a lot of happy chit-chatting about your company, spreading the word and boosting your brand. Trust will increase among your growing client base and your team will feel good about what they do.. and it all snowballs into a larger bottom line. What's not to love about that?
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Other sources: www.groovehq.com/support/customer-support-statistics, www.salesforce.com/blog/2013/10/customer-company-attributes.html