Competition is fierce across every sector and businesses have to stand out from the crowd to attract and keep hold of customers. Whether you’re launching a startup, or you have an established business, it’s hugely beneficial to understand the importance of branding and creating a brand that consumers want to buy into. In this guide, we’ll explore some effective steps you can take to enhance your reputation and build strong ties with customers.
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Sharing your values and company ethos
Consumers today are looking for more than the best prices and products that look great or provide essential functions. Studies suggest that customers want to engage with brands that share their values. Over 70% of consumers actively seek to buy from brands that are aligned with their personal values. When building or developing a business, it’s so important to share your values, to tell clients about your company culture and ethos and to showcase the human side of the venture. Tell people about the causes that matter to you, the initiatives your business supports and provide an insight into the way you work. If you’re passionate about corporate social responsibility or you donate a portion of your profits to environmental or conservation funds, update your customers with news and give them more information. People want to know about brands, their backstories and the way they operate today. They don’t just want to add an item to their cart and checkout. You can use social media, personalized emails and blog posts to keep customers in the loop and show them how their custom is benefiting the wider world.
Understanding your customer
Customers have more choice than ever and there are several factors that can influence decision-making when it comes to choosing which business to hire or buy from. One of the most significant factors for modern-day consumers is customer service. Clients and shoppers want to connect with brands that go the extra mile to make them feel valued and they also want to be understood. Businesses that take the time and the effort to get to know their customers, to listen to feedback and suggestions and to work with clients to achieve their goals or solve problems will attract positive reviews and build an excellent reputation. If you’re looking for an example of a brand that has grown due to a commitment to understanding their customers and working tirelessly to help clients achieve objectives, you can learn more about The Beachbody Company online. Communicate with your customers, get to know them, gain an insight into what makes them tick and look for ways you can make their life better. Even the simplest things like providing additional options for delivery or extending opening hours to cater to full-time workers can make a positive difference.
Putting customer service first
Customer service should be a priority for every business owner. There are myriad benefits of putting customer service first and ensuring every client feels like a VIP. Perhaps the most important in terms of your finances and profits is client retention. Existing customers spend an average of 67% more than new customers. In addition, good customer service can encourage repeat sales. Over 70% of consumers will be loyal to brands that provide friendly, responsive customer support. Happy customers are also likely to spread the word and recommend your business to others. Almost 80% of consumers have shared positive experiences with friends, family or colleagues.
It is clear that investing in customer service can make a positive difference to brand reputation, sales and review scores, but how do you go about making improvements? There are several ways you can provide a better service for your customers. These include providing training for employees, introducing tailored policies and guidelines, offering loyalty rewards, providing support options and delivering on promises. It’s also incredibly beneficial to engage with your customers, to keep in contact and to go above and beyond to make them feel special. Send out a message and a discount code on their birthday or invite them to gain early access to an exclusive sale, for example.
Interaction and engagement
It has never been easier for brands and businesses to engage with customers and prospective clients thanks to the Internet and social media platforms. With apps, emails and open access to websites, it is possible to communicate with existing customers and new clients at any time, in any place. You don’t have to shut up shop at 5 pm and wait until 9 am the next morning to answer questions, take calls, respond to comments or accept orders. You can share posts at peak times, provide support around the clock and sell 24-hours-a-day. Use the opportunity to engage and connect with your customers to promote your products and services but also to strengthen ties, to talk about the ethos of your brand and to get to know your customer.
Encourage interaction with posts, emails and blogs and ask people for their ideas, suggestions and opinions. If you own a clothing line, for example, and you’re posting photos of new products, you might find that people ask for a broader size range or the option to pay for a next-day delivery service.
Taking ideas on board can help you encourage interested customers to take that next step and place an order and it can also enhance customer experience. You may find that feedback enables you to attract more buyers and to gain an advantage over your competitors. It can also provide an insight into how potential customers view your brand and help you identify weaknesses or problems to address. If you receive comments about high delivery charges or a lack of images that reflect a diverse range of customers, for example, you can look into providing different shipping options and use a wider range of models to include in your descriptions. You might even choose to feature buyers in your campaigns, for example.
Innovation and originality
One of the most crucial questions to ask when growing your business, trying to attract new customers or boost retention rates is ‘why should a customer buy from us?’ Multiple factors can influence how customers make decisions, including cost, delivery options, product specification and availability but offering something different often holds the key. Consumers faced with an array of offers or quotes will be looking for a business or brand that stands out and offers a unique proposition. Upsell your USP and embrace innovation. Use technology to gain an advantage over competitors and think carefully about what your ideal customer wants. What can you do to set your business apart and persuade prospective clients to choose you? You might use high-quality materials or offer products with different features or you may offer free next-day delivery. You might provide customers with the opportunity to earn points or you might provide a unique in-store experience, such as personalized shopping or customization options, for example. Tailor your USP to the brand and the target market.
Most of us have been in a situation where we feel like a company we’ve been loyal to has let us down. If you have a negative experience, it can compel you to consider alternative options and to tell other people about the situation. As a business owner, it’s so beneficial to look after existing clients and to reward their loyalty and support. If you have high retention rates and your customers keep coming back, there’s a good chance that they will recommend your business to others and stay loyal. Look for ways to reward clients who make repeat purchases and encourage others to buy from you. Design a rewards system that is relevant to your target market and your business. Examples may include using a card that gives you money off or a freebie after a certain number of purchases, earning points when you spend or getting access to a discount when you recommend a friend. Use your own experiences as a consumer to get ideas, see what other businesses in the industry are doing and ask customers what kinds of incentives they would prefer.
Turning words into actions
More and more businesses are investing in corporate social responsibility and pledging to do good in the world but actions speak louder than words. Make sure you act on promises or written policies and keep your customers informed. Whether you’re planting trees when customers make purchases or your employees are choosing a charity to donate to every month, it’s a great idea to share news and let people see what you’re doing to make a positive difference. If you’re launching a new strategy and you’re looking for causes or programs to support it, it’s an excellent idea to ask your employees and your clients, and customers to put ideas forward.
Running a business is about more than generating profits and hitting growth targets. As an entrepreneur, you also want to make your customers happy and create a brand that people want to invest in and engage with. Take these tips on board to enhance your reputation, facilitate engagement and communication and make a positive difference to your customers, employees, and the wider community.