6 Ways to Make Better Connections with Your Customers By Paying More Attention - GO.CO Blog

.CO ExclusiveRaj Malik is CEO & Co-Founder of KikScore, an exciting startup that helps small online businesses use their own track record of reliability and trustworthiness to increase sales and close more leads. Raj is a contributor to his company’s blog at blog.kikscore.com, a past speaker at SXSW and is passionate about helping small business and entrepreneurs succeed.

Entrepreneur Mark Cuban has said:  YOUR CUSTOMERS OWN YOU.  But take a close look at your business do you realize that without your customers your business basically would not exist and would be worthless.   The problem that many of us face as small business owners is that we often use the excuse that we are too busy to actually engage our own customers.  Better yet we even say that we have other more pressing priorities than talking to our customers after they buy from our businesses.

Reality needs to hit us all over the head.  We need to take a moment and lift our heads up from working on silly presentations, spending all of that time on Twitter and Facebook, and always looking inside your business and taking a “me first approach” to your business and your customers.  Rather, we all should take a moment and think about how very important each of our customers are to us, our business, our sustainability and most importantly our future.  If we actually take a moment to think about how our customers are the reason we have a chance at succeeding in our businesses, then we may have a better appreciation for what needs to be done to make a more impactful impression on our customers.

So here are 6 ways that your business can better focus on your customers so you can be on your way to making a more lasting and long term impression on them:

1. Give your customers a face and someone to identify with for your business. For a quick moment, think about all of the businesses and options you have in your life that you deal with from your local grocery store, to the neighborhood dry cleaner, the wine store, jeans you wear, the TV you watch your favorite game on…. Now can you put a name to a face of an actual person for any of these brands?  Odds are for most of these the answer is “no.”  So you need to understand that your customers have a ton of options and have so many brands going through their heads at any given moment.  So many of these products are from companies that customers cannot form any real relationship with at all.  So we as business owners need to try to be different.  One way is going out of your way to put a face on your business to your customers.  That way when one of your customers uses your product/services they make a connection with an actual person.  The reality is that we all crave connections in our lives.  So if your business can successfully make a personal connection with your customers that goes a long way to starting to set yourself apart.

2. You got a customer, now go for a deeper relationships by showing customers you actually want to hear from them – If you put things in a broader perspective, we should all consider that our customers have made the decision that of all businesses that may serve their need, they have picked our business.   Let me repeat that.  Your customer has picked YOUR BUSINESS from all of the noise out there! Therefore think about taking the relationship to a deeper level! Take a moment to actually see how your product helps solve a problem or need for your customer.  Don’t just stop at they are using my product because they need to sell more widgets online.  See at what point in the day does your customer say I am going to use your product to solve an issue that they face.  That level of interest and finding out the specific details of the use of your company’s product and service will do two things.  First, the information you receive from a customer will help your business do a better job of building and fulfilling your product and service because you get to know first-hand how customers use your product.  Secondly, this level of interest goes a long way to clearly demonstrating to your customers that you care.  Customers will probably be blown away by this level of attention because companies just don’t take the time these days. So try being different by showing that you actually give a darn. This is really that simple!

3. Really ask your customers for feedback and listen rather than ignoring their feedback – If you put your business in the position to be talking and engaging with customers as we outlined in #2 above, it will give you a great chance to get actual feedback.  So it is important to take every opportunity that you engage your customers to seek out and frankly demand tangible feedback about their customer experience, how they feel about the issue that you are solving from them, the alternatives that they have considered and the market in general.  Finding the time to have these interactions may be difficult so my recommendation is take baby steps and plan these in bite-sized pieces.  For example, just try to have one or two interactions a day with customers.  Aim for 5-10 a week because all of this will start to snowball and then the volume of the feedback will help your business.   The perspective this gives your business is that you get to witness your product and services directly through the eyes of your customers!  That is a perspective that so many businesses ignore.  So all you have to do is be proactive and ask those questions to your customers.  The perspective you will get is invaluable.

4. The more you engage the deeper the relationship gets with your customers – A simple common sense fact of human interactions is the more you talk to your customers the more likelihood you start to build and develop a real personal bond with customers at a human level.  The proof for that is think about in real life. Typicaly the more you interact with people the more often some type of a bond is created between you and another person at a human level because inevitably you have a bit more in common because you know more about each other.  The same holds true as you continually engage customers. This is great because this actually translates into your business building tangible brand capital through enhanced credibility with your customers.  You can then set your self apart and that credibility with your customer suddenly turns into your business earning their loyalty.  It is amazing that we are so jaded as customers of business, but it is true.  We tend to be more loyal to businesses that we think of as taking the extra step to actually act on feedback and show that they are listening!  If you show your business is listening, suddenly you can start really getting your customers’ attention!

5. This loyalty can pay major dividends during tough times and also to calm the haters – Where does all of this customer engagement really pay dividends?  It is often when a customer has a negative experience with your product/service.  Your chances of losing that customer are a lot higher with no engagement, and no loyalty generated because when they complain all they hear is crickets from the community and your other customers about that person’s bad experience.   If, however, your business has actively engaged customers and built customer loyalty, those loyal customers have a great chance of rising up and defending your business and telling that angry customer about how much different your business really is compared to others so they should give you another chance. None of this is possible without taking the time and resources and making it a company priority to actively engage your own customers.

6.  Load up your loyal customers with stories of how you helped customers –  Word of mouth marketing is a hot topic right now especially with the growth of social media, but frankly word of mouth has been the single greatest and cheapest marketing strategy for small businesses for decades.  The more your business can use your own customers as advocates, the better off your business is.  Therefore arm your customers with good stories by making sure you take care of them when they need it.  The more stories they have translates into more opportunities for your customers to spread the word about your business.  Remember try to enable your own businesses to be your best brand and company evangelists so they can be your salespeople too.

As I mentioned previously, the best way to get going is by starting small.  Make it a priority that everyone on your team engage 1-2 customers a day and then build from there.  Remember it can be as easy as just sending a customer a short email or catching them in a meaningful way on Facebook and/or Twitter.  These small interactions can make all the difference in the world!

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