From engagement to true love: 10 tactics to deepen the relationship with your Customer.
Updated: Jun 25, 2019
Beautiful and all-consuming sensation known as falling in love, one of the most profound facets of human existence. It starts with lust & desire, then turns into an attraction and lastly, long-term attachment. Although the fundamental physical chemistry is strong, it takes time and hard work to develop the more fundamental aspects of the relationship.
Businesses and customers alike have those initial feelings, especially when the brand of product is newly launched. Unfortunately, the excitement often fades as time goes on - customers just move on with their daily lives. So how do you avoid the breakup and make them fall in love with your brand?
1. Surprise, to get the attention.
We pay extra attention to anything that violates our expectations. Psychologists called it an expectancy violations theory - the more disruptive something is, the more interesting it becomes. We all love the excitement it brings along - whether it’s about those cute small gestures your partner does to boost your day or a memorable marriage proposal. It all comes down to imagination, confidence & bravery, the certain “Je ne sais quoi.”
The same principles apply to business relationships. In the era of Social Media predictability ( the more you interact with particular content, the more narrowed down it gets ), being different is more important than ever. Surprising your customer may range from delivering outstanding customer experience, exceptionally well-designed packaging or excellent product quality - when I was a child, my mother and I went to a small shop looking for new coffee cups. My mom couldn't believe when the Seller claimed the new Arcoroc glass cups are unbreakable, until, the Seller just threw one on the floor to prove his point ( after that, she’s never bought any other ). It’s the charming little quirks that earn business.
2. Don’t Come On Too Strong
There’s a euphoria that comes with finding someone you genuinely like, and we’ve all been there. Slow down - the easiest way to turn someone off is to overwhelm them with your attention, especially at the start of your relationship. Your customers feel the same way when you come on too strong with your product or service. Being patient and building trust is the crucial ingredient to obtaining and maintaining loyal customers. Think about it - how many times were you annoyed because all those flashy pop-up ads, showing straight after you entered a website? Well, you’re not alone. Aggressive retargeting will only make your customers feel stalked. Instead, try segmenting retargeting user journeys based on the customer level of engagement and use multi-channel tool to orchestrate the ads, instead of using all marketing channels at the same time. Calm down with your Cart Abandonment Campaign chain - especially with the new customer, ask If there’s anything you can do to help to finalize a transaction, but don’t offer a discount 30 min after the user left your site. ( Read more about it in our previous article.) People's nature is complicated - if something comes too easy, chances are it won’t be valued, you don’t want that to happen to your brand.
3. Underpromise & overdeliver, not the other way around.
Driven by passion and excitement to make the loved one happy, we often commit to things that we’re not able to realize. Accidentally, even though we had good intentions, we end up making the other person hurt or disappointed. In your private relationships, as well as Sales or Customer Success, set realistic expectations and deadlines, to avoid misunderstandings, empty promises, and broken deals. Be the man of your word - when you deliver more than has been promised, you can be sure to impress by exceeding the expectations of your Customer and beloved one.
4. Elevate & be the Mentor.
Think about the things you want from your significant other: someone who's continuously expanding horizons, growing and exposing you to exciting new things. Someone that you can learn from and that inspires you. Someone who you can leave with your friends for 10 minutes without them dying of boredom. Well, that entirely applies to brands, too. Your task is to turn your Customer into a Follower and an Evangelist. How? Before even sharing any content, take a step back to describe your customer persona - Who is she? What does she do? What are her ambitions? Who does she want to be in the future? With that information at hand, you can make your content more diverse and focus on educating your user base. Talk about your recent learnings, favorite tools, new ideas and the results of latest experiments & use cases. Make sure your customers are always a step ahead and give them the juicy updates to share with friends. PS. Remember always to keep it short & to the point!
5. Proactively pay attention to behaviors.
As the old saying goes, "actions speak louder than words." Often, when you ask your partner how things are, she’ll say, “fine,” even though she’s cold as ice. When you’re tuned into your relationship, you know how to see right through patronizing response by reading the behaviors. To truly understand how your customers are doing, surveying is not enough - while some are quick to talk about your business's shortcomings or express they need, others might be shyer or just not care enough to spend time on answering your questions. To understand your Users better, you need to observe their behaviors. Doing business online, you can quickly set up a tracking tool, like Heap Analytics for analyzing customer journey or Cux.io that will record the customer visit and show you click by click, how customers are interacting with your product. Seeing what the things your customers struggle the most are, will provide valuable feedback and help you prioritize your product roadmap.
6. Kill it with kindness & support
It’s often said, “When you’re in difficult times, you’ll know who your real friends are.” I’d say - you can’t judge a brand until you had contact with their Customer Support. Nearly every relationship is going to have some rocky times and rough patches at some point, and when that happens, your love for that special someone ( or your very best Customer ) may be tested to the limits. Recently I could experience this first hand, making a transaction at Amazon.com. Although, the shipping status claimed the book I’ve ordered was delivered, nor my neighbors or I had seen it. After two days, I impatiently called the Customer Care. I expected the usual Customer Support ping-pong chat when you hear that you're supposed just to wait a few more days, they would contact delivery service, there's nothing else they can do, etc. Instead, I just froze in my chair when the Agent said: "We're sure you've looked everywhere for the package. Don't worry about it. We're going to send a new one; It should arrive tomorrow." My utter frustration, triggered by the situation, vanished in a blink. The book indeed came the day after. Only best companies can turn a crisis into an opportunity to show how reliable their service is. Therefore, it’s essential that everyone in the company is empowered to help the Customer in need. Listen, empathize and go the extra mile. If there’s one sentence that turns customers away, it surely is “There’s nothing we can do’, no good in being in a relationship with someone who does not have your back.
7. Have a sense of humor.
Playfulness between partners is crucial to building a lasting relationship, because it creates bonds, establishes security and enhances the communication. When you make someone laugh, they start associating you with positive emotions. Researchers also suggest, pleasant memories persist longer and are quicker to recall. Many companies out there ( and certain politicians ) take themselves a little bit too seriously. On the contrary, the brands doing seriously well aren’t afraid to go for the funny bone of their consumers. Not without reason - a survey from Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange (OTX) suggests that social media users are more likely to share a “funny” than “important” content (49% vs. 43%). Looking for some inspiration? Here are 10 Examples of Humor in Marketing from Brand24 colleagues. Keep in mind your humorous tone should fit your brand voice and the characteristics of your customer persona, make sure your jokes aren’t discriminatory.
8. Listen and value their opinion.
One of the most fundamental components to having a successful relationship is listening to the other person, being open to dialogue and taking an interest in their needs & opinions. Customer engagement ought to be the same way. First of all, signal your customers that you’re approachable. Give them an easy way to provide you feedback, either on your website ( live chat widget is a great idea), mobile app or through an email - there’s nothing worse than ‘noreply@’ email address used for communicating with your user base. Working on a new feature? Invite your customers to test it - you’ll not only get a proof of concept but will also make your users feel they take part in shaping the product. Last but not least, pay attention to what your customers are saying on your social media sites and reply to comments or mentions ( you can use a brand monitoring tool, like Brand24). Listen to what is being said in their reviews. Be ready and eager to answer their questions, also publicly. Quickly responding to Social Media complaints positively and professionally will earn you additional brownie points.
9. Make them feel special.
If you ever forgot your beloved’s birthday, your anniversary or a Valentine's Day ( PS. It’s today! ), your partner might get upset and take it as a sign of losing interest in your relationship. After all, if something is important to you, you should make it a priority. Though the same is not expected of your customers, you can use the special occasions to make them warm up and keep you at the forefront of their thoughts. Send out personalized offers, coupons or cards during the holidays, to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays and other occasions. Be creative with the different ways of letting your customers know that you care about them. Remember - everyone cares about different things, it’s valuable to segment incentives based on Customers’ lifetime value, their level of engagement, and their unique preferences. Another “10% off for your birthday” email won’t do the trick.
10. Be Big Enough to Admit When You’re Wrong
Being big enough to admit when you’re wrong and say you’re sorry is an essential element in maintaining a relationship with your partner. Your customer relationship is also greatly enhanced if you’re able to admit you messed something up. Your partner will commit the same things they would later be sorry for... or will they? Care and thought have to be put into an apology, and it does not mean anything if not enough attention is put into it.
Here are two statistics you need to keep in mind when you consider the value of your apology to your customers: • 58% of unsatisfied customers will tell their friends about your poor service. For every ten friends they have, you have the potential of losing six customers. • It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one negative experience.
You worked hard to earn the trust and respect of your customers. Keep it by admitting you’re wrong, apologizing and coming up with a plan to fix it.
Wrapping It All Up
Utilizing tactics which are similar to how you treat your beloved, you can strengthen customer engagement and deepen the relationship. Listening to what your customers need, paying attention to how they behave, asking their opinions, anticipating their needs, delivering on your promises and making sure that they know you appreciate them, can go a long way toward the success of your business. Treat your customers like you treat your loved ones, and it’s hard to go wrong.
PS. Happy Valentine's Day!