As marketers and sales professionals there is no doubt that we are focused on obtaining new customers and increasing awareness within targeted market segments. However, we must also consider the lifetime value of our existing customers and how marketing communications can contribute to that relationship. Taking the time to examine what kind of communications can keep your brand top of mind with customers and inspire continued awareness for repeat sales and referrals is of enormous value.
Do you know how much your current customers are worth to your company? In recent years research has found that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25% to 95%. Armed with the knowledge that satisfied customers has a direct impact on your bottom line, there is no time like the present to begin targeting your current customers. Here are 5 tips on better customer communications you can start using right now:
Tip #1 – Personalized Email Communication
Creating a steady flow of email communication for customers is not a new concept. However, how many email campaigns do you send out that are segmented based on purchasing habits or preferences? Say that you have studied the data relating to your current customers and have identified approximately 5 profiles or personas. Based on customer information find the persona that best fits each customer. Then create an email drip campaign for each customer segment with different content based on need. Keep in mind that the subject line, internal content, and calls to action within the email should be personalized based on customer segment.
Tip #2 – Create A Stellar FAQ Page
Creating readily available and easy to find information is Customer Service 101. It does not matter if you are B2B, B2C, technology, retail, or any other type of company; your customers will have questions. A Frequently Asked Questions page on your website, social profiles, or other web destinations should be updated on a regular basis to include new questions or comments. FAQ’s are also an additional opportunity to optimize content for improved visibility online. It is important to remain consistent with your answers, provide a clean and easy to read page, and update or remove items that may no longer apply. If you sell multiple products you may want to consider creating additional pages for each product. Also, if you sell a product or service that requires assembly or setup you may want to provide instructional videos for your customers.
Tip #3 – Social Networking Channels = Customer Service Opportunity
Last week we shared the example of JetBlue’s customer focused approach on Twitter. While Twitter may not be a customer solution for all marketers there is an opportunity to utilize your existing social media channels as a way of providing additional customer service for your customers. Customer service does not only include answering questions or dealing with problems it could also include: sharing useful articles or information, notifying customers of upcoming promotions, or reaching out to customers that are inactive. Consideration must also be paid to the time of day that your customers are most likely to spend their time online. There are tools available like Timely, Buffer or Hootsuite which enable you to schedule your Twitter communications during a particular time of day for the highest impact.
Tip #4 – Create Content Based on Customer Need
If planned for and organized appropriately, content creation can be executed efficiently and successfully. A successful content strategy will focus on the needs, pain points, and triggers of your customers. There are many ways to identify what those needs are including: customer surveys, research, and creation of customer personas based on buying habits. Implementing a well thought out and concise customer survey can give you additional insight into what makes your customers tick. A survey is also a great opportunity to crowdsource content from your customers for your customers. Who better qualified to tell you what they want to read about than those who are purchasing your products or services?
Tip #5 – Turn Customers Into Brand Advocates
It is extremely important that you tap into your existing customer base to find individuals or organizations who are willing to advocate on your behalf. You could ask customers for: written or video testimonials, permission to use them as references, or employ them as a brand advocate to share information with their networks. As user generated content becomes increasingly popular and credible, keeping your customers happy will continue to become even more essential.
Committing to providing customer support online is something that I recommend every company do no matter what industry you work in. If you don’t keep your customers happy, someone else will. I would like to leave you with the following questions that I hope will help you determine what tactics your company should implement to improve your customer service and communication online.
- How would you rate your current level of online customer service?
- Do you currently have a plan in place to improve your communication?
- What tactics have you implemented that have worked?
- What companies do you personally buy from that provide excellent online communication?
- What impact has that communication had on your purchasing decisions?