If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you already know that customers will only praise you if you wow their socks off. But they’ll complain to any who’ll listen if even slightly perturbed with your product or service. This is why customer engagement is so vital to any marketing and retention plan.
Here’s 6 customer engagement tips that every marketer needs to follow to add more five-star reviews to your portfolio:
1. Embrace all negative feedback with a “smile.”
All businesses make mistakes. When a negative comment is made about you, whether in person or (gasp) social media, embrace it with a smile. Don’t be the jerk, or jerkette that just has to give the customer an earful of excuses and/or defensive comments about why they’re wrong.
One of the best customer engagement tips anyone can give you is to learn to take it on the chin — admit you’re in the wrong, then find a way to make it better for the customer. They might not thank you, but kindness disarms, while anger and arguing just breeds more of the same.
2. Don’t be a recluse.
If you do things that make customers feel like you don’t want to be contacted, ever, they’ll stop contacting you in short order. This goes for contact phone numbers, social media, and the contact form on your website. There’s few things more frustrating than having a burning question or worse, a complaint that needs to be rectified, only to find arm loads of proverbial redtape that needs to be waded through just to get someone who’ll listen.
If support is easy to access and deal with, you can count on at least half your customers being happy with you in the end. Over 80% will feel nothing but frustration if your non-communicative on social or contact forms, and will definitely hate you if your phone service sucks or is non-existent.
3. Show off your successes.
There are so many ways to show customers, potential or existing, just how great your product and service is. Retweet and share your social comments on your website via social activity feeds and other plugins. Display high-res pics and descriptions of your products. Do the same if you’re in the service business and build/fix things for customers. Post email letters from customers praising your work on your site.
Show off without being a jerk about it and customers will flock to your business, higher prices be damned!
4. Reward referrals of any kind.
Online reviews are great to have. A strong percentage of us all have an online source we trust for recommendations on the products we need and want. Word-of-mouth referrals, from actual people the customer knows and trusts are where the real money is though.
When someone says they were referred to your business by someone, it’s vital you reach out to that referrer and let them know that you know about and appreciate their recommendation. Not only will being acknowledged put a happy smile on their face, they’ll be ten times more likely to act as a reference again should you need one in the future. Don’t be afraid to reward them with a thank you gift of some sort either — word will get out!
5. Keep in constant contact.
It might seem annoying to send customers frequent mailers, emails, PMs on social, etc. However, you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t. This is one of those customer engagement tips that business owners, particularly small business, owners often ignore.
Just because you find outreach annoying doesn’t mean they will. And lack of communication fosters bad reviews 9/10 times. Reach out for feedback, offer to help if needed, let them know about promotions (following the 80/20 rule). Be so there for the customer they start to feel like you’re part of their inner circle!
6. Realize there’s no end in sight.
There will always be negative reviews. Doesn’t matter what you do — some people are just that way. But, you can never get comfortable no matter how many positives you get either. It’s easy to get lazy and feel a false sense of comfort when it seems like you’re on the top of the totem pole and nobody can kick you off.
Remember that there’s always someone willing to do more than you, particularly if they’re more hungry for business than you are. Never stop working to deliver top notch customer engagement and service– even if it means a lot of sleepless nights, or hiring more staff to make it happen.
Customer engagement is the future of business. This is particularly true now of social media. It’s the first place an unhappy person goes to vent their frustrations, and social reviews are front-and-center on Google and others when someone types “company name review” or “product name review” when performing their pre-purchase research.
Ignore customer engagement and you’re done. Simple.
Main Image Credit: Diputados/Flickr