Strategies That Support a Strong Customer-Facing Business Profile
Putting customer satisfaction at the center of your business strategy is an excellent way to grow and improve your company’s image. While it may sound difficult, building a customer-focused profile is not that complex. It involves taking a few steps that show current and potential customers how much you value them.
Ask for (and Listen to) Customer Feedback
One of the very first things you must do is listen to your customers. This is routinely done through the collection of direct feedback. You have a few options here, such as asking customers to complete a survey after a purchase, email or text surveys, and feedback forms.
Another method that is especially effective is taking time out to speak directly with people and ask their opinions. Training all customer-facing staff to ask open-ended questions to elicit opinions is crucial to successful implementation.
It isn’t enough to ask for customer feedback; you also must show customers how you are incorporating it into your decisions and show how it is helping to shape policy. When you implement a change based on feedback, be sure to mention it in promotional materials. This simple act helps others see the impact they have and promotes positive customer relationships.
Support Causes That Matter to Your Customers
Customers today are passionate about many causes. If you cater to a group that has a special cause, then supporting that cause is advisable. This can take many forms.
For example, if your customer base is passionate about the environment, taking steps to reduce your impact, such as through effective carbon management, makes sense. It shows the public that you are listening to their concerns and taking concrete action to address them.
Once you decide on a plan of action, communicate that to your customers and other stakeholders. Let them know exactly what steps you are taking and why. You can further show your commitment by creating and following a corporate responsibility program.
Follow Through on Promises
Don’t make promises you can’t keep. This applies as much in business as it does in everyday life. Failure to deliver on promises undermines customer confidence and severely tarnishes a business’ reputation. If done often enough, recovery may be impossible.
One way to avoid this is by being realistic about your company’s capabilities and portraying that capacity to others. For example, if you have five new products planned, but the capacity to launch only two this year, those two would be the only ones you discuss and promote. A few tips to help you avoid problems include:
- Never make a promise you cannot keep, even if it means losing a sale
- Write down promises you make to customers or the public to hold yourself and your business accountable
- Make it right when you fail to honor a promise or guarantee
Vary How You Communicate With Customers
People use varied communication methods. So, what may work for one group will not for another. While you cannot expect to master every single communication strategy available, you should use enough of them so that you can reach your target customers.
For example, not everyone wants text blasts from your business. In fact, many people find it distasteful, which is why laws state that you must get permission to send text messages to customers. The same can be said about repetitive email campaigns. However, there are plenty of people that value this type of communication.
Approach your communication strategy as you would any other customer-focused interaction by valuing the preferences of the other individual. When you gather customer information, provide two or three options for reaching out and ask them to rank the order of usefulness. You can even break this down further by the type of message, such as discount offers, upcoming special events, or new product announcements.
Building a customer-focused business image is not difficult, but it takes time and effort. To be successful, you should be prepared to listen to customers, support the causes that matter to them, and use varied communication methods to meet them where they are.
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