How Listening To The Customer Translates Into Loyalty

There is no universal approach to winning customer loyalty, but the best way to start is by providing a solid customer experience that makes the consumer feel valued.  In fact, in today’s marketplace, making customers feel appreciated is an essential part of simply staying competitive.  With so many channels available for consumers to connect with brands, it is more important than ever to take a broad, holistic view of customer experience in order to maintain customer loyalty.

With that in mind, here are some principles to ensure that positive customer experiences translate into loyalty with the company:

Listen to your customers and follow demand

Customers are more than willing to say what they want, but businesses have to be prepared to listen, whether it’s over social media, direct feedback from surveys, or on the phone.  Companies must learn their customers’ expectations and fulfill those demands instead of forcing their own ideas on their customers, which is a common mistake many businesses are guilty of.

An article by Anna Papachristos highlighting how Photojojo ramped up its social media outreach from a twice-a-week email campaign to a multichannel hub for photography enthusiasts, is a great example of how listening to customer demand leads to loyalty.  Photojojo slowly but surely built up its online presence by test-driving new social media sites from their customers’ perspectives and then actively listening to customer feedback and adjusted their services.  This process helped to build a devoted following where users post pictures, share ideas and truly engage with the brand as a community.

Incorporating customer demand into business strategies is a no-brainer and an excellent way to build trust by making customers feel like they are active participants in the company’s decision making process.

Create seamless multichannel experiences

In a recent article, Jay Sasidharan invites us to imagine what customer experience will look like in five years when he says, “multi-channel for enterprises will transition to an omni-channel experience, meaning that customers can browse through product information on any medium while conversing with friends on social media, and then order the product through any device.”

Customers expect seamless personalized experiences across whatever channel they happen to find themselves on.  They want to be able to email a support center for help and then follow up on social media or the phone without having to repeat their issues.  While it’s important to treat different channels as unique avenues of interaction, remember to consider the overall brand experience and treat them as smaller parts of a unified customer experience.

Use customer data to inform your decisions

Companies today have more information than ever about their customers, but this data is useless if they don’t effectively leverage it to improve the experience with their brand.  “The size of the data isn’t the issue; instead, it’s ‘what you do with the data’ that will be the key to the success in the emerging future economy,” writes Om Malik in a recent GigaOM article.  It takes customer experience analytics to draw useful conclusions from this data.

Besides providing the ability to carefully target proactive outbound communications that offer suggestions and reminders to customers, analytics allows companies to make smarter business decisions.  Companies can use the historical customer data at their fingertips to identify consumer trends and preferences, and provide more personalized experiences.

Businesses that keep these strategies in mind as they reach out to engage customers are in a good position to provide memorable customer experiences and build brand loyalty.  Above all, businesses should always remember to put the customer first and be proactive in building customer trust and happiness with the brand.

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