Having a great product or service, and a strong business model is naturally a fantastic starting point on the road to success. However, when all’s said and done, it is your customers that truly dictate whether your brand will succeed or fail.
As such, it is vital to ensure that not only are you delivering what you advertise, but that it is accompanied by great service, and a stellar customer experience.
This can go beyond the expected responsiveness, accountability, and recognition that is generally expected of businesses. In fact, to stand out and truly win the appreciation of your audience, it helps to go the extra mile and offer additional perks to those who support your business. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Recommended reading: How To Improve Customer Experience When You Provide Services Online.
Many brands introduce loyalty and referral programs to reward those customers who not only support the business, but do so over a prolonged period, or bring other customers to the business. Rewards can take many forms, including products, discounts, or often, points that can be used towards future purchases.
The other benefit of this perk is that to participate, users are generally required to sign up on your website, or via an application. This means you gain valuable lead data, and potentially the opportunity to reach out to that individual with email marketing or push notifications.
The provision of meaningful rewards also acts as a form of exclusivity marketing, which strengthens the relationship between your brand and its customers, and reinforces the sense that your brand cares about their needs.
Allowing your customers to have a genuine impact on the decisions your brand makes can be very valuable. After all, they love your products, and they want to become part of the journey. Pay attention to their feedback, and give them to opportunity to offer suggestions, vote on future products, and provide opinions on design ideas.
A great example of this is Squishable; they have an ongoing voting system for future toys, so customers can vote for the designs they would like to see made next. Not only does this make their customers feel valued, it also increases the chance of future purchases, as many of those who vote for a winning product will also return to buy it once it has been made.
Once someone signs up to your account, it is important to make it meaningful. If nothing changes, then it can feel a little disappointing. 75% of customers like brands to use personalization and you can use it to give your customers a more unique shopping experience; something as simple as a personalized greeting when they sign in can help to build familiarity with customers, and make them feel more connected to your brand.
Over time the data you collect about their buying habits and preferences will enable you to deliver more targeted marketing communications and recommendations, which will ultimate deliver a more valuable and impactful experience.
Personalized accounts also make it easier for customers to track their order history, learn about products related to their favorites, and to manage loyalty schemes and referrals. This ease of use is incredibly valuable as accessibility is essential if you want customers to stick around and explore your website.
Everyone enjoys a little exclusivity, which is why perks that are only available to specific groups are often so popular. Consider having an area of your website that is only available to those who sign up. They get the benefit of seeing content that is inaccessible to others, and you gain a new subscriber.
The same applies to your other marketing efforts. Time-limited discounts, and exclusive offers can be included in your adverts, marketing emails, and similar media, giving individuals the chance to capitalize on a deal that others may never hear about.
You can even encourage the use of user-generated content, and the formation of smaller communities within your audience, via forums or Facebook Groups. This can foster fruitful discussion between like-minded individuals, and inspire others to interact with your brand upon seeing the positivity generated within these groups.
Having an automated email system for handling purchases and keeping customers informed is a popular choice. It saves a lot of time and ensures that customers know what’s going on with their order, when to expect it, and whether their payment has been processed correctly.
However, there is more you can do with this facet of your business. Why not follow up with an email that expresses gratitude for their purchase, or even offers an incentive, such as a discount, to make a future purchase?
Similarly, you can follow up with former customers to encourage them to return to your website. If used sparingly, and with the inclusion of some useful content or a great offer, this can be a powerful re-engagement and retention strategy. By reaching out in a meaningful way, you make customers feel appreciated, and add a personal touch to your marketing efforts.
There is no single winning strategy for optimizing the consumer experience. In fact, the best way to score points with your customers is to do something a little different. Find out what sort of perks will appeal the most to your core demographics, and build your ideas around this knowledge. Just remember to add your own personal spin, so you are able to offer something that feels exclusive and unique.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to provide great perks for your customers. Something as simple as a personalized thank you note can mean a lot, and may even earn you some free advertising, if customers decide to share them on social media.
Whatever you decide to do, make it memorable and meaningful, and you will soon see the benefits of your commitment to providing a positive experience to your customers.
Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she tackles how brands can use marketing tools to make a greater connection with their customers.