This post is the third in an eight part series on how to prepare your business for success in 2014. Follow the links to learn how to prepare your business for success, write a business plan, make your business legal, market your business, improve your personal and business credit, boost your website’s visibility and finance your business. Meet Kristen Gramigna, chief marketing officer for BluePay, a credit card processing solutions firm. Kristen has more than 15 years’ experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management and marketing.
If you plan on growing a successful business in Kansas City or anywhere else in the world, making customers happy should take priority over everything.
Technology has created a mixture of the new “give it to me now” and “what have you done for me lately” customer base, and it is more important than ever to make sure customers are pleased with how you do business. Some of the old rules will always apply, but there are several methods to keep pace with the expectations of the 21st century consumer.
No time is better than the present to evaluate and improve your customer relations. Here are five ways to make your customers happier:
Maintain Good Relationships
According to a statistic from Bain & Co., it costs 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an old one. Identifying and fulfilling initial customer requirements is only the beginning—you want their business for life. And if you gave them a pleasant buying experience the first time, chances are they would like to continue buying from you down the road.
Business relationships are built over time through positive interaction. Technology and marketing tools such as social media, in addition to emails and phone calls, allow companies to maintain constant contact with their clientele. These practices also strengthen your branding efforts, which give your customers the confidence and familiarity they need when coming back for their second, third and fourth purchases.
With the influx of advertising via email, mobile and social media, consumers are exposed to more marketing material than ever before. Their ability to spot spam and misleading advertising is also sharper than ever and it is important your advertisements have no negative connotations attached. The Kansas City Business Journal offers a variety of articles on this topic.
Your brand should exemplify comfort and reliability. You want your customer base to associate your brand with quality, dependability and forward thinking. The old adage of “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me” applies here: you can almost guarantee a scorned customer will not return for a third time.
Customers always appreciate receiving discounts, special rate opportunities and free goods or services. Whether you offer these incentives when they sign up for a credit card or you simply surprise them with a loyalty reward, the act itself shows them you are willing to reciprocate.
There are several ways to reward loyalty; the most common include discounts on selected products, invite-only shopping events, free services, free trials on new products, giveaways, and loyalty cards. Rewards with a personal touch are also a great idea and provide a more intimate level of appreciativeness. The Kansas City Star recently wrote about the effectiveness of consumer tracking and offering rewards based on the data.
Offer Mobile Payments
The trend of mobile retail is exploding and shows no sign of stopping. An article by the National Retail Federation shows that June 2013 smartphone Internet usage represented 44% of all retail Internet minutes, compared to only 17% in June 2010. The figures are forecasted to rise and surpass desktop shopping in the next 2-3 years.
Mobile payments are fast, easy and convenient—everything a customer expects nowadays. All of the best mobile credit card-processing companies provide safe, encrypted software for your customers. Give them peace of mind and ability to shop wherever they are with a mobile payment option.
Share Tracking Information
Once a customer pays for a product online and the transaction is confirmed, the item essentially belongs to them. It may be in a warehouse 2,000 miles away, but said buyer now owns that individual product and it is your responsibility to get it to them fast and in one piece—as you promised.
The excitement and convenience of online shopping is typically met with the eagerness and impatience of not having the product right away. So what is the best way to keep even the most seasoned online shopper stimulated? Share the tracking information with them right away and throughout the entire transport, up to delivery. Being “in the know” is much more satisfying than an empty estimated delivery date. Besides low online prices, on-time trackable delivery is the best way to make online customers happy.