With Valentine’s Day upon us, now is the perfect time to reflect on the relationships in our lives, including those with our customers. That’s right – you are in a relationship with each and every one of your customers!
With the rise of social networks giving consumers direct, immediate communication with their favorite brands, 79% of consumers state that their relationships with brands are more personal than ever before. Not to mention, 68% of consumers agree that shopping today is less about brands or products themselves and more about what they are feeling and needing (MediaPost).
Unfortunately, many marketers don’t realize this until it’s too late, and are left with the age old regret of not know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. Don’t worry – here are 4 fool-proof strategies to make your customers fall in love with you all over again and stay in it for the long haul.
Earn their trust.
It’s widely accepted that trust is the backbone of any relationship, and customer relationships are no different. Many consumers are jaded and have been betrayed by companies that steal their personal information and sell it to third parties. Over half of US consumers worry about their information being compromised every time they login to a business website, and 29% have abandoned logging in or buying due to these concerns (1&1).
By allowing consumers to register for sites using their existing social media accounts, brands can gain transparent, permission-based access to users’ rich social data, and give consumers total control over the information they share. Inform consumers of how their data is being used by prominently displaying data privacy policies on your site. It’s worth it: 77% of online shoppers agree that they would trust businesses more if they explained how they use personal information (Get Elastic)!
Keep open channels of communication.
A recent study by Edelman found that 90% of consumers want marketers to more effectively share their brands by allowing them to help shape their brand and product strategies, but that only 10% of consumers think there is a brand that does this well. Paying attention to consumer feedback is key in developing closer and more meaningful customer relationships.
Give consumers a designated place to share their opinions and experiences with your brand and fellow consumers by incorporating reviews or comments into your site or app. Not only does this make customers feel valued and heard and provide you with actionable feedback, but it also promotes word of mouth marketing. And don’t forget to monitor and engage social channels – 72% of consumers expect brands to answer their tweets within an hour (MarketingLand)!
Show them you care.
Love might not cost a thing, but we all know gifts don’t hurt. Exhibit A: statistics show that companies that offer rewards card programs see 46% higher customer spending (Loyalty Leaders). Finding ways to show consumers that you know who they are and appreciate their business is crucial to generating repeat conversions and lifetime customer value.
Implement a flexible, consolidated database that gives you a single view of consumer identity across channels and devices to accurately track consumer behavior and reward brand advocates. Rewarding consumers for desired behaviors via gamification is another effective strategy to show your best customers that you appreciate their investment in your brand.
Make them feel like they’re the only ones.
Everyone wants to feel special, and there’s no faster way to destroy consumer opinion and relationships than to treat your customers with a one-size-fits-all approach. 45% of online shoppers are more likely to shop on a site that offers personalized recommendations (Get Elastic), and leads nurtured with targeted content produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities (DemandGen).
Leverage a robust, web-based dashboard that turns consumer data into actionable insights that can be easily exported and used to create relevant, timely campaigns and experiences. For example, with access to information about a consumer’s favorite sports team, an athletic brand could feature a personalized product showcase featuring that team’s logo when he logs in to their site, or send him coupons valid only toward merchandise for that team.
Growing and maintaining customer connectivity is vital to the success of any business. Brands must realize that they are in a personal relationship with each and every one of their customers, and continuously create and optimize strategies to build mutual long-term value. Cupid would be proud!