Unhappy customers are a nightmare for smaller local businesses. They can lead to bad reviews, a damaged reputation and lost revenue.
While it’s impossible to satisfy all customers all the time, it’s still important to consistently recognize they are valued and their opinions matter. Here are some marketing strategies to follow and a few mistakes to avoid to keep (most) customers content and coming back for more.
Collect Consumer Feedback
Customer feedback is crucial to uncovering problems and improving experiences. One customer experience survey found only one out of every 26 customers complain; the rest will keep quiet and move on to another business.
Lost customers mean lost profits. With fierce competition from big-box stores, it’s necessary for local retailers to retain existing customers. This can be achieved by simply getting consumers to assess their business.
A customer feedback survey doesn’t have to be long. It just needs to include the right questions to uncover valuable information about a business’s services. Open-ended questions are ideal to obtain overall feedback. Asking consumers to rate key aspects of their shopping experience also helps in this regard. Information gleaned will go a long way to business growth.
Focus on Customer Service
Responsive customer service is key to attracting and retaining consumers. Moreover, people crave omnichannel support — 90 per cent of consumers expect companies to provide good customer service on different communication channels, says communications platform and IP voice network Voxbone.
According to a report by business communications platform Nextiva, 73 per cent of consumers say friendly customer service representatives encourage them to stick to a brand. Ninety-six per cent believe it is an important factor that contributes to brand loyalty.
Businesses should make customer support hotlines available and ensure they are visible to consumers. Complaints or inquiries can be addressed by e-mail, social media, phone and live chat. Sales representatives should also be trained to identify needs and resolve issues in a respectful manner. Businesses that can resolve complaints are likely to retain customers in the long-run.
Be Social Online
Due to ongoing public health measures, social media use is on the rise. PwC found 58 per cent of consumers increased their social media consumption in 2020.
On top of this, social commerce is estimated to reach $84.2 billion US in 2024, based on data from Statista.
Many consumers discover new brands on their social feeds or conduct research through a brand’s social media accounts. Without an online presence, a business is limiting their reach, ability to increase their brand awareness and losing sales. Perhaps even worse, interaction with current customers is limited to face-to-face contact, which, let’s be honest, isn’t very often. This makes it difficult for consumers to keep a retailer and their products top of mind.
Optimize Product Pages
Customers often gather information before buying a flooring product to make sure their hard-earned money will not go to waste. They will read product descriptions, look at high-quality photos, watch demonstration videos, if available, and review customer ratings. Failure to include all these details on a website hinders their purchasing decision.
Conduct Market Research
A lot of local retailers sell their products without insights about consumer demographics and attitudinal behaviours. However, such information helps a business understand how their customer base searches online and makes purchases so that they can effectively utilize their advertising and marketing spend. Retailers can conduct market research by encouraging customers to fill out a survey. Social media analytics tools are also great to gain insights about followers and a business’s target market.
David Hepworth is director of sales at Podium, a customer messaging and payments platform that enables companies with a local presence to conveniently connect with their customers at critical touch points to help them strengthen their business. David can be reached at [email protected].