By Alex Altman
In today’s business climate, recent polls suggest that customer service is one of the best ways to drive loyalty and gain an edge over the competition.
- 54% of Millennials said they stopped doing business because of poor customer service (Conversion)
- 66% of US consumers spend more on brands to which they are loyal (Accenture)
- 74% of consumers would be more likely to engage with brands who provide a higher level of customer loyalty (Wunderman)
Customer relations should be a priority for all businesses, but many come up short in this area. This is shameful, considering customer service is the output of effort and ingenuity more than any other factors, including financial investment.
Here are five low-budget ways to enhance consumer relations:
Respond Quickly: Fast replies to social media queries affect not only the loyalty of consumers, but even the amount they’re willing to spend. According to a Twitter study, a customer was willing to pay almost $20 more for an airline when he received a response to his query within six minutes. When the airline took more than an hour to respond, he was willing to pay only $2.33 more.
Reward Loyalty: In exchange for their undying loyalty, customers now expect something in return. According to Accenture, 77% of consumers participate in at least one retail loyalty program. It doesn’t take a cutting-edge mobile app to track loyalty. If you’re a small business, something as seemingly antiquated as a punch-card may suffice.
Surprise and Delight: Unexpected “wow” moments can go a long way in fostering loyalty. Whether it’s surprising your customers with free shipping or throwing in an unexpected gift with their purchase, small (and inexpensive) acts of kindness will make your company more memorable and pay-off in the long run.
Maintain Your Google Listing: People are looking for your business on Google, so you’d better make sure the information they’re seeing is correct. Keep your hours of operation updated. Make sure your address and phone number are listed. Then, go the extra mile by posting pictures, answering questions and responding positively to all comments. Yes, even the negative ones.
Personalize Your Responses: The only thing worse than ignoring a customer? Responding in a way that seems scripted or robotic. In the Wunderman poll, 56% of respondents said they feel more loyal to brands who “get me” and show a deep understanding of their priorities and preferences. This can be achieved by personalizing your messages and showing empathy.