The smartest companies know that business is all about customers. Remember the saying: ‘the customer is always right’? Well, it still applies. It will always apply. It is the single most important thing to remember in business. It is often easy to get carried away with your own vision and end up running in the wrong direction. Think of your customers and you’ll always come back to the right place in the end.
Customers are the beating heart of your business. Without them, your product has no use. Your service would go unused. When crafting a master strategy for your product, sales and marketing, keep customers at the heart. So long as you constantly have them in mind when planning, you’ll keep a coherent strategy. They are the one thing that ties your entire business together and keeps it running.
With every strategy, whether it’s social media, SEO or advertising, keep asking yourself one thing. How does this benefit my customers? So long as you keep asking the right question, the answers will slowly come. Speak to your customers, learn from them. They will teach you about your own product. You will learn how best to move forward. Use them to generate ideas and reward them for loyalty. It is simple, good business. Here’s how you can put your customers at the heart of every business strategy.
Customer Service is a natural starting point. If you don’t have a strong customer service system, now is the time to implement one. The single most important thing when it comes to customer service is exceeding expectations. They have come to you with a problem and expect to have it resolved. Your task is not simply just to resolve the issue. You must solve the problem, and then give them something extra. Exceed expectations. Offer them a discount or give them some other incentive. That will turn them from a complainer into a preacher. They will sing your praises and spread the word.
Content is next on the list. Content is vital as it curated specifically for your customers and potential customers. Put your customers at the heart of your content strategy. Provide information via blogs, videos and tutorials that relate to your product or service. Aim to create viral, shareable content that your customers will devour and share. Your customers are your marketing team. They will read and distribute your content, so long as it is unique and engaging. First and foremost create content that is suitable for them. You can bet there are thousands more like them elsewhere and your content will slowly reach them.
Email is the one technology that has stood the test of digital time. Despite changing systems and new technologies, email stands strong. Quite simply, it is the most efficient and private system of communicating with others online. As such, it still holds a strong power that you can harness. Email is a direct and personal line to your customers and community. Make sure you are tailoring communications with each customer in mind. This is all about creating a personal relationship with each and every customer. When you collect addresses, collect their name too. Use your email tool to insert each person’s name into the mail-out. Tailor your mail-outs to regions or a particular service that you know they are interested in. Everyone hates junk mail, but we love a personalised, helpful and respectful update or offer.
Social Media isn’t going anywhere. Like it or not, it is the lifeblood of modern marketing and communication. It also your most powerful online marketing tool. It creates an equal ground for all companies and gives you unprecedented access to your customers. Use it to strengthen the relationship. Use social media to engage and connect with them. Ask them questions, learn what you can do better. Find out how people are using your product and make changes. Use social media to share your unique content with customers. Act as a first response for customer service. Offer discounts and offers to your social community. There really is no limit on how you can use social media to connect and engage with your customers. Put this right at the heart of your marketing strategy.
Provide an approachable, tangible contact. There is nothing worse than a faceless company that you can’t get hold of. Your business should be approachable and easy to contact. There should be an address that customers can reach. Knowing that you are in the same country with a registered address makes all the difference. That simple fact creates loyalty and trust. You could set up a virtual office with www.regus.co.uk which will give you a London address.
Reviews and reputation are more important than ever in the online world. The internet has been amazing when it comes to creating opportunities. It is easier than ever for businesses to get started. However, it has become more difficult to get heard. One way that you can stand out is through online review sites. In fact, in the customer service sector, it is the single most important aspect. Review sites elevate the very best companies to the top of search engines and provide reassurance. This starts and ends with respect and treatment of customers. Treat them well and your reviews will grow, and your business will thrive.
Mobile strategy will be one of the defining marketing trends of 2015. Mobile technology is growing faster than any other sector right now. If you’ve got your customers at the heart of your company, you’ll know that they’re moving to mobile. More and more are shopping on tablets and using apps for everyday functions. If you’re talking to customers, you’ll know that they want your service on their phone. You’ll already have a strategy. Keeping your customers close is a sure fire way to predict trends before they happen. Those that communicate with their customers will stay ahead of the curve. They’ll have plans in place. Make sure that you are one of those companies.
Of course, every business is different. These are some broad themes but it’s up to you to discover the best practice for your business. What unique technique can you harness to put customers at the heart of your company?