5 Simple Ways to Stay in Front of Your Customers
Years ago, a typical business relationship looked something like this: A customer would come into your business, make a purchase, and then leave. She would only return when she needed to buy something else. As a business owner, if you wanted to engage with your customers beyond this, you would send out flyers in the mail or pay for an ad in the local paper. Not only was this costly, but it took time, and if your life is as busy as mine, you don’t always have time to give.
Luckily, thanks to technology, that’s no longer the case. With just a few quick keystrokes, you can deliver an email blast to a mailing list of customers or start a dialogue through social media. You no longer have to yell “sale, sale, sale!” like a broken record to engage with customers. Rather, you can keep your business front and center while building brand loyalty and customer relations in less time than a 60-second TV commercial. Successful businesses are doing this every day. To implement their strategies, you need to:
1. Maintain an engaging presence on social media
If you don’t already have an account for your business on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr, stop reading right now and go sign up. Mobile technology is the No. 1 form of communication other than face to face, and I don’t foresee that changing anytime soon. Being active on social media not only lets you create a dialogue with your customers, but it can also help attract new ones. Don’t stay on the sidelines.
2. Know your customers
After a business transaction, send a quick email checking in on what they think of the product they purchased and letting them know you’re available should they have any questions. This kind of exchange keeps the conversation going and shows that you’re interested in more than their money. One example: If you know your customer’s birthday is coming up, shoot a quick “happy birthday” email. Not only will they feel special, you’ll also be engaging in a conversation that goes deeper than just business as usual.
3. Share valuable content other than your own
If you come across an interesting article or blog post that you think your customer would appreciate, send a link via email and share. Or, now that you took my advice and have your social media accounts up and running, add the article link to your Facebook wall or send it out via Twitter. Don’t be surprised if they return the favor and start sharing back.
4. Ask questions
Whether it’s an online survey on what they think about a particular service or product or a tweet soliciting feedback, by asking customers for their opinion, you’ll help make them feel valued and important. Just be ready to hear what they have to say. Constructive criticism may be hard to swallow, but being a good listener could help you make changes to you business that could help you down the road.
5. Pick up the phone or visit their office
By now you’ve probably figured out that I’m a big fan of social media, but at the end of the day, there’s nothing quite like the personal connection of having a conversation face-to-face or phone-to-phone. Although it’s easy to do, resist the urge of hiding behind your computer all day and pay your clients a visit in person from time to time. Invite them out for a quick cup of coffee or weekday lunch. Not only is this a great way to foster a business relationship, but you may wind up building a new friendship too.
This article was written by Jeffrey Hayzlett and published on the Salesforce blog.
Jeffrey Hayzlett is a leading business expert, cited in Forbes, SUCCESS, Mashable, Marketing Week and Chief Executive, among many others. With 100,000+ customers, Salesforce.com is the enterprise cloud computing company that is leading the shift to the socially connected businesses.