Edition 17

Give your customer a wink

27th September 2009 By TeleFaction A/S no comments

Once upon a time, business owners used to know their customers by name.

They had a pen behind their ears, ready to make notes about Maria’s product preferences or Paul’s need for garden material. They were aware of Maria and Paul’s change of behavior in order to deliver new goods before the client asked for them, rewarding them for their loyalty. 2009 is different, companies focus on the big picture, using technology and expensive marketing strategies to increase sales based on the final product and not necessarily on Maria and Paul. But do customers really fit in that big picture? Have they completely lost the need for being surprised?

No, they have not. Customers are still people. What has changed in the past decades is their attitude towards companies. Although they play “hard to get”, customers want to be treated in a romantic way. They are positioning themselves in a defensive manner to prove how independent they are, how they can divorce at the click of a mouse, but in reality they do not want to waste their time splitting up. End users want to flirt, not falling for cheap seduction strategies, but deep inside all they need is attention. If at this point of the reading you are lost, asking yourself “is this an article on couples counselling?” do not turn the page. We are simply talking about the after sales service.

Let´s begin by remembering that clients are always about to leave. Relaxing right after finally gaining a buyer is not a good idea. The after sales care is just the start of a long road, full of traps. It is the time to set off working on 3 topics: willingness-to-repurchase, reluctance-to-switch and likelihood-to-recommend. And the secret to dominating these subjects is to stay in touch with what customers think - exactly the way Maria and Paul’s were taken care of. All of this is done in order to cultivate a long-term loyal relationship base.

The same amount of energy used to win one market segment’s heart should be recharged to keep them happy. Ongoing analytical customer experience data allocates key attitudes within a specific segment. Using constant end user tracking programs make it possible to expose unanticipated customer features that affect buying habits. Having these insights offered by knowing the preferences and attitudes from Maria, Paul as well as other “prospects” enable the firm to aim specific, cost-effective promotions at each group of customers. A timeless and relevant continuous communication with customers lies at the spirit of any good marketing strategy, especially due to the fact the cost of losing a lucrative client is extremely high.

Remember that we are all consumers. Knowing that, have some empathy, close your eyes and think: “would I like to be treated this way?” The manner in which a product is delivered is just as vital as the product itself. Now, ask yourself again: “do I know what my customer is thinking?” if not, run to find the answer because emotionally satisfied customers contribute far more to the bottom line than pure rationally satisfied clients. A customer who receives a proposal before he/she dreams of it is far more likely to remain loyal.  It is about share-of-mind, the feeling that “we are in this give-and-take together.” Customer follow-up definitely increases retention. Do not miss the opportunity to be proactive about providing superior value.

External follow-up consultants can be used to get more objective results from data measurement. This is because they are not connected with the corporation’s daily activities, and thereby are more likely to understand the customer in an impartial way. To sum up, a company that cares about customers should have loyalty strategies to find out what clients really want, when and how they want it. And this is only possible by measuring the customer experience. Get it right by monitoring information that comes from all touch points, never forgetting to concentrate on the basics of the customer lifecycle!
About the author: TeleFaction A/S

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