Every successful business knows customer services is critical. We also know that customer retention and growing existing customer relationships are far less expensive than acquiring new customers. That said, many, especially small businesses, are fixated on growth but don’t have the time to consider what’s really driving customer retention or how to improve it. We can help!
Who owns the relationship?
Starting in the 90s, we saw a slow shift in power from brands to consumers thanks in large part to the Internet. We’re now at the point where just about everything you’d ever want to know can be found online without help from a salesperson including things we may never think about such as apps that measure ring size or luggage that follows us around the airport. Point being, long ago the brand (no matter the size of the company) was in the power seat of customer relationships but now, they’re not, consumers are.
What your customers want
The difference between companies that are “killing it” vs struggling in the market right now is the level of understanding about what makes for good customer service and what makes a good overall customer experience ie: whenever they see your logo, hear your name, or interact with your brand, they feel good.
Overt contributors to business growth (what we already know)
Today, business owners must please customers but in order to be found online, they also have to please search engines. Creating self-serve content (such as blogs, videos, whitepapers and case studies) and building communities on social media to solidify your reputation are important. Consequently, even though we think they’re growth drivers, they’re now merely basic requirements. It’s interactions and engagement with buyers online that are the actual drivers.
That’s because there are covert contributors to business growth in play:
The real customer retention and acquisition driver
There’s a fundamentally important and impossible to pinpoint driver behind every purchasing decision – our feelings. We inherently want to do business with people we like and products that make us feel good. We also naturally gravitate towards brands that have a good “why” story – for the same reason but tapping into feelings and getting your “why” story out there is more complicated than ever.
Listening and feedback loop
There are over four million blogs published everyday. Ufda – that’s a lot of reading… or in reality, a lot of time wasted creating content that’s not consumed. Point being, wasting time and money creating content that doesn’t resonate with your audience’s “feelings” is a waste of time. In order to understand how you make customers feel, it’s important to listen on social media, via comments and other feedback streams but…
It’s not just about listening, it’s also about showing them… by example in seemingly small ways:
Company culture is frequently used as a differentiator in attracting talent with the hopes that top talent will drive better results. Smart, but having a ping-pong table, work from home, beer stocked fridges and an approachable CEO are merely surface. Remember the Titanic? Like an iceberg, it’s what’s under the surface that matters most. Meaning the tangible perks tied to attracting top talent quickly become “business as usual” and when employee happiness is fleeting or leveraged as marketing, it doesn’t create feelings in employees that reverberates with customers to drive long term growth. You have to have an authentically great culture to use it as a differentiator.
Hiring and recruiting as marketing is a rising topic that goes hand-in-glove with company culture because HR folks set the stage for everyone. If they’re late for interviews, unresponsive, or don’t show an active interest in a candidate, (which are overarching complaints from job seekers), you’ve already missed the mark. If you hire someone who needs a job after they’ve experienced a misaligned company culture it’s sets up distrust at a “feeling level” which deters complete buy-in later. And without employee buy-in, when it comes to marketing, you’re like an engine running on bad gas.
Culture is a cornerstone for success
Not surprising, companies that differentiate on their culture are “killing it” but what’s their secret for translating culture into growth? Turns out, it’s not a secret at all! Here’s a good Forbes article that highlights 10 companies where where culture is a primary growth factor.
The common denominator
For those “killing it,” company culture is levied from the top down, it’s organic, palpable, can’t be faked, and transfers to customers via every interaction they have with the brand. It’s felt on social media, by content creators, engineers, customer service reps and the c-suite. When you’re working in a place with a great culture, you feel lucky and happy even if there’s no ping-pong and… the synergy it brings can’t be created or destroyed by layering technologies or activating the latest marketing tactic.
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