One of the problems that many big businesses face is that they lose that homey feel that makes small businesses so appealing. Small businesses go out of their way to create relationships with their clients, whereas big businesses typically fail at that. Customers tend to get lost in the shuffle and can be left feeling as though they’re just another faceless number contributing to sales and not a real person with feelings. Social media, however, has opened up an opportunity to interact with customers in an entirely new way, making them more like friends. To give your customers a sense of appreciation and foster a greater loyalty you should use social media to:
- Interact with your clientele – Social media allows you to open up threads of communication that previously were unavailable. Consumers can interact on your Facebook and Twitter pages, leaving comments, connecting with other customers, and engaging in conversation with you. These are all things that help solidify a closer customer-to-business relationship.
- Listen to their suggestions– Now that we can connect with customers via social media, they are more willing than ever to tell you when something goes wrong or if something isn’t up to the standards they expect. This is the perfect time to really listen to what they have to say, and prove that you care by not only responding to their suggestions, but actually doing something about it as well.
- Ask their opinion on improvements – If you’re about to roll out a new product or service or you’re updating an old one, ask them via social media what they think could be improved or changed. In today’s instant gratification world, social media is the quickest way to reign in responses. Not to mention, people appreciate being asked their opinion, and love to see when their opinions turn into a reality.
- Host events centered around customer appreciation – Hold an annual customer appreciation event where they can come in and have cocktails and appetizers and schmooze with people in your company. Honoring their commitment to you will only further develop that commitment, and make them feel more valued. Live-tweet throughout the event and then post pictures and encourage feedback after. This way not only are you helping solidify their relationship, but you’re also reaching out to potential new customers who can see the high level of commitment you demonstrate to your clientele.
Don’t fall into the same trap that so many businesses do once they move past the mom and pop stage where the customers become secondary to the money. While making money is important, it can’t ever be done without a loyal customer base, and regularly interacting with your customers and going out of your way to make them feel appreciated is the first step toward maintaining that loyalty and roping in new customers. When your customers feel more like friends then just clients, you are much more likely to succeed, and they are much more likely to favorably spread the word about your business.
Ken Myers is the founder of http://www.longhornleads.com/ & has learned over the years the importance of focusing on what the customer is looking for and literally serving it to them. He doesn’t try to create a need; instead he tries to satisfy the existing demand for information on products and services.