At its most basic level, a customer strategy is a business’s plan to acquire and retain customers. But an effective strategy is much more than simply having a plan. Here are some guiding principles that will help you create or revise your customer strategy to make it as effective as possible.
5. Put the Customer at the Center
Customers are the lifeblood of almost any organization. There’s a saying in hiring circles that your people are your most important asset; they give you a competitive edge in your market. Your customers are people too, and they are potentially the most important asset your business has!
That’s why businesses should put the customer at the center of everything they do. From creating new procedures to training new employees, the customer should always be the focus. How will this new procedure serve your customers better? How will your employees interact with customers? Effective customer strategies address these concerns.
4. Focus on People, Not Brands
Customers don’t want to interact with your “brand” or your “company.” When they contact you, they want to know that they’re interacting with real people. That’s one reason scripted interactions are out at call centers. Instead, call center training now focuses on having reps respond with empathy and compassion to individual needs.
Similarly, your customers want to be treated as people, not numbers. An effective customer strategy fosters deep interaction between real people, which in turn fuels customer satisfaction and creates customer loyalty. Customers are more likely to do business with you when they feel that real people are handling their concerns and treating them as individual human beings.
3. Think about Enhancing the Customer Experience
There’s a lot of talk about “creating” customer experience, especially when it comes to technology. Businesses want to leverage new technology to create unique experiences for their customers. An effective customer strategy, however, recognizes that you are not creating the customer experience so much as you are enhancing it.
When you employ technology to tailor sales advertising to an individual or make recommendations, you are not creating customer experience. The customer has already created that experience by stepping into your shop or visiting your website—now it’s up to you to enhance that experience and make it the best possible.
2. Know Your Customers
If you’re running a company with a focus on vegan foods and products, chances are your customer base does not have much overlap with the clientele of a steakhouse. As such, you should know your customers and arrange your organization around their identities. Are your customers likely to appreciate a company that acts like Google, or are they more likely to respond positively to you if you present a more traditional business front?
You should also know your customers on an individual level. That may seem difficult, especially if you have many diverse customers, but technology can help you break your customers down into micro-markets, as well as amass data about individual customers. Everything from how they like to contact your company to how long they spend browsing your website and what kinds of products they’re interested in can help you tailor their experience with your brand. That means it’s vital to know your customers.
1. Create a Seamless Experience in Any Environment
An effective customer strategy allows you to define the customer experience and then use that definition to deliver an exceptional customer experience across all platforms. This means that the customer should receive the same level of service whether they are shopping in a brick and mortar store, talking to a customer service rep via phone or email, or interacting with your employees through social media. An even level of service across channels tells customers that you’re committed and that you understand their needs.