As a marketing consultant, most of my time is spent helping small businesses find new customers. In many cases, the new customers I find come from the direct competitors of my clients. Think about that: My client’s new customers are enticed away from the competitor that was last getting their business. The ease with which this is accomplished is largely attributable to the fact that companies are not doing a very good job of making their customers feel special.
If you want to really grow your business, focus on your existing customer base. After all, it’s much easier to strengthen existing client relationships than to try to develop new ones.
The concept of making customers feel special is expressed quite effectively in a great post that I discovered on OwnYourBrand.com. In the article titled “So Easy, A 7-Year-Old Can Do It”, Mike Wagner explains that most businesses fail to make customers feel special; a concept so simple that even his seven year old grandson gets it!
“…less than 33% believe businesses take customer opinion seriously.”
Consider this data from last year’s study by the Society for New Communications Research entitled, “Exploring the Link Between Customer Care and Brand Reputation in the Age of Social Media.“:
- 81% believe that blogs, online rating systems and discussion forums have the potential to give consumers a greater voice regarding customer care, but less than 33% believe that businesses take customers’ opinions seriously.
- 84% of respondents occasionally consider the quality of customer care when deciding whether or not to do business with a company.
- 74% choose companies/brands based on customer care experiences shared by others online
What business owner wouldn’t love to have the brand loyalty of a Harley Davidson, Apple, or Starbucks? The reality is, however, that very few business owners are successful in taking the first and easiest step in that direction by simply listening to customer feedback.
Listening and responding to your customers paves the way for development of “kick-ass” products and services (those that meet the expressed needs of your clients), and helps to create powerful marketing messages that lead to the attraction of more loyal customers and increases the lifetime value of your customers .
“Social Media Makes Customer Communication More Accessible”
With social media tools such as LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter, and blogs at your fingertips, you now have more opportunities than ever to further engage with your prospects and clients. Although you can never truly replace the value of face-to-face interaction, these social media platforms allow for near instantaneous, two-way communication. Talk about a great way to build, or repair, brand loyalty!
Think about your business and ask yourself: What forms of Social Media are you using to interact with your customers and prospects?
If you have questions about Social Media, Web 2.0, or Blogs and how they might be applicable to your business, please contact us. We offer a no-cost, no-obligation marketing consultation for businesses in the Lakeland, Tampa, and Orlando areas.