To say that good customer service is essential to earning and keeping customer loyalty is not a revolutionary idea. The importance of good customer service has always been key to building a brand and maintaining a successful business. We have all heard the adage, “The customer is always right” and we know that making customers happy is so paramount that sometimes we must go above and beyond to satisfy customer demands, even if those demands are unreasonable. In the digital age, the term customer service has evolved to become Customer Experience and it encompasses not just the in-store and telephone experiences your customers have, but also their online experience when interacting with your business.
Digital Marketing Strategies focus on reaching out to target customers through website optimization, building links, paid marketing, and social media marketing. The goal is to maximize visibility on the web and to achieve positive interaction with target customers. A good Customer Experience depends on how successfully you portray your company and brand and what kind of experience they have when they interact with you. Specifically:
- Your website must be engaging, clear and easy to navigate.
- You must offer quality, original content, both on your website and off; in your social media posts, your press releases, blog posts, videos etc.
- You must have friendly, knowledgeable customer service representatives
- You must be easy to contact, with links and conspicuously placed phone numbers and email contact info (either directly or through a contact form)
In a study last year, Eloqua found that the key to earning customer loyalty was a good customer experience.
When asked what factors causes them to remain loyal to a brand:
- 73% said friendly employees or customer service representatives
- 55% said the ability to easily find information or request help
- 36% said personalized experiences
- 33% said a good reputation
All of these good customer experience factors can earn you the audience, reputation and loyalty you are working so hard to achieve. However, don’t forget that customer loyalty is as easy to lose as it is hard to earn. One of the most important customer experience points to remember is you must respond when your customers reach out!Whether your customers fill out a contact form on your website, phone your service line, message you on Facebook or post a negative review about your company or product, you must respond promptly or risk alienating a customer you’ve invested so much of your energy to court.
50% of customers gave a brand only 1 week to respond to a question before they stopped doing business with them. Then:
- 89% began doing business with a competitor
- 26% posted a negative review on a social networking site
Acknowledging your customers’ dissatisfaction is key to keeping them as well as to salvaging your online reputation. When their negative online comments received a response:
- 46% of respondents said they were pleased
- 22% posted a positive comment about the organization
Communication with your customers and making their satisfaction your priority are key to building and maintaining customer loyalty. It is not enough to reach out through a strong online presence and an intelligent marketing strategy to build your customer base. You must then reward those customers by never taking them for granted. No matter how strong and well-established your brand, consider your reputation as a work in progress and act accordingly.