The president of Harley-Davidson got it right when he said “The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing”.
It’s become very easy for your customers to ignore you. These days, if you don’t engage with customers, they’ll by-pass you. They’ll turn off the TV, delete your email and fast-forward your podcast. It is all about them. They choose. They determine your brand value, they listen to their friends on twitter talking about a bad experience and they research new products by visiting user forums.
So where does this leave the small business? With some valuable opportunities for customer engagement. Here are a handful of ideas to help you engage with customers.
Start connecting with your customers by listening. This means acting like a customer. Ring your own phone number. Stand in your own queue. Understand them. Invite them to participate in improving your product or service. Educate them and inspire them, but mostly join their conversation. Observe conversations in your sphere. Listen to your target market and the experts in your industry on blogs, tweets and other social media forums.
Look at your communications. For example, does your website talk about the customer and their problems and how you solve them or does it talk about YOU? Remember no one cares about you, nor do they care about anybody else. They care about themselves. So don’t try to be all things to all people. Just communicate to your select target market and explain how you can help them.
Want more articles like this? Check out the business relationships section.
Act on all feedback, good or bad. Show you care. A blog is a good way to join the conversation with your customers, but there’s no point if you don’t act on the information you receive. You have to show that you’re invested and that you care.
Create opportunities for your customers and team to communicate and build an extended online community. They’re going to have the conversation with or without you, so you may as well be listening and providing input. Marketing is now a dialogue and two-way conversation that requires listening. If you are good at creating these opportunities, you’ll empower your customers to create their own ideal products and services, review yours, provide feedback and nurture your business.
They’ll tell you how they want their information, and what they want. You just have to listen and be willing to share the process.
Evaluate your on-line community and strategy and make sure it suits your customer needs. There are many ways to join or start a conversation and you can’t give your attention to all of them. Pick the medium and style that best suits your customers and make a start today.
Do you actively employ strategies that help you engage with customers? We’d love to know what you’ve learned and how it’s impacted your business. Join in the conversation below.