Maybe it’s a service call, a simple plan adjustment, or even that first Google search looking for a provider. No matter the reason or method, each and every customer encounter is crucial.
However, if the bulk of a consumer’s experience with a company is made up of a series of small interactions – e.g., a little light research or a "quick question" phone call – how does your business address the little things needed to facilitate positive and loyal customer relationships?
Over the years, I’ve adopted four simple concepts gleaned from past experience that help ensure the customer’s experience stays top of mind. They’re so essential that I’ve carried them in my back pocket for years.
1. Play fair. News to no one: life isn’t fair. Do your best to change that. A good chunk of consumers have grown familiar to mistreatment because of having to deal with companies that refuse to put their customers’ needs first. Make it a goal of your CRM strategy to reverse the typical customer experience through practices that go far beyond consistent treatment, like ensuring consistent pricing and aligning with fair trade regulations. This also means making sure the customer experience is solid from the very first interaction to the last.
2. Keep things simple. Unless you’re selling word puzzle books, your customers shouldn’t need a decoder ring to understand what you’re offering. This should be applied to each and every customer , whether they’re seeing your product for the first time or they’re as familiar as family.
Create communication tactics that are easy to both understand and find. Keep your communication concise, specific and direct. Focus your attention on how to best deliver your message in a consumer-friendly manner.
3. Show respect. Every customer has a choice and, chances are, they opted to go with your company for a reason. Work to make everyday a "Customer Appreciation Day" and put the kind of effort in that shows all your customers – new and old – the respect, patience and courtesy they deserve.
In addition, it’s crucial to keep the diversity of your customer base top of mind. Not everyone comes from the same background or carries the same values. Treat your customers as if they were family and you’ll get to know them on a whole new level.
4. Know your people. Always keep this in mind: Once a customer shares any piece of information with you and your company, your relationship has been taken to the next. By keeping detailed notes about your customer base that can be easily accessed by employees, you’re able to streamline and personalize each and every service opportunity.
With a working knowledge of your customer’s tenure, past issues, concerns, buying habits and other key pieces of information, you’ll be able to foster the kind of trust that builds loyalty and encourages repeat buyers.
Scott McLaren is the chief marketing officer for Fortegra, an insurance services firm.