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COMPANY BLOG & NEWSROOM

13Oct

How to Build Customer Loyalty

understanding-your-customers-needs

Businesses love to successfully cater to a customer’s needs. After all, satisfying the fulfillment of goods or services will entice the customer to return. Loyal customers help turn businesses into massive successes, so it makes sense that successfully detecting consumers’ wants on a frequent basis can result in a strong number of loyal customers and consequential sustained growth.

So, how can a business tell exactly what the consumer wants? Every customer is different, but there are a few fairly universal strategies and tips that can help businesses come across as very appealing when customers ask themselves, “Is this a place I would like to shop at/work with?”

Play It Safe with Universal Desires

Customers vary, but it’s safe to say that if a customer sees an effective and useful item they could never envision their lives without, they are likely to purchase it. As a result, if you’re marketing a product, it’s wise to show how it makes one’s life easier and is better than any alternatives in its price range. Effectiveness, usefulness, and bang-for-your-buck should all be emphasized to appeal to the majority of consumers.

Another generally universal desire among consumers is that they want items that are personalized and not generic. It’s more difficult for consumers to personally identify with an item if they’ve seen the same model on television multiple times or know that their neighbor also has one. As a result, it’s a good idea to emphasize a product’s personalization and uniqueness when promoting it in your marketing.

For example, the pet product site Doggyloot bases their products around dog size. When asking customers the size of their dog specifically on their homepage, it shows a dedication to personal preference and specifications:

doggyloot

Marketing a product around its usefulness, value relative to competition, and qualities of uniqueness/personalization is a great way to encourage interest among the majority.

Consider Surveys and Testing

For a more in-depth and scientific look at what consumers are after, consider surveys and testing. Test groups are more common for mass-produced products, as they lack a uniqueness factor that will hook in potential consumers on their own. Creating and completing surveys used to be costly, although now with services like Google Consumer Surveys businesses can compile accurate market research at a lower cost.

With Google Consumer Surveys, businesses can ask questions—ranging from “Which logo is better?” or “What do you feel is missing from the ___ niche?”– and target specific audiences and websites, to ensure that those answering the questions are within the business’ market demographic. Google helps “infer the person’s gender, age, and geographic location based on their browsing history and IP address” with those answering questions to obtain access to a site or receive credits for music or books.

Beyond Google Consumer Surveys, other effective survey tools include:

  • SurveyMonkey is ideal for survey solutions for all business sizes, with accommodating features like providing incentives to survey-takers, engaging with specific audiences, and analyzing customer insights.
  • Qualaroo works by appearing as a sliding box on your website’s bottom, with the option for multiple-choice or open-ended questions. It’s an easy-to-use and versatile tool, with plans starting at $79 per month for 1000 responses.
  • Google Forms is the way to go if you want a quick survey that can be done for free. Plus, it can be embedded easily into Google+.
  • Social media, as shown in the Lenovo example, can serve as a great survey and information-collecting tool, especially as platforms like Twitter and Facebook allow the options for polls.
  • Typeform offers a variety of stylistically enjoyable surveys, with several options for free.

Alternatively, businesses can simply ask questions on social media, compiling the information manually to determine their customer base. In the example below, Lenovo poses a question in order to better evaluate a product preference among their followers:

lenovo

By having the answers to any business-related question deemed relevant, even very small businesses can use valid market research to form a solid perception of what consumers want. Consequently, a business owner can base his business and marketing plan around that. This could be a store deciding which brand of soda to sell or a rehab center inquiring about the public perception of individualized patient programs.

Emit Friendliness and Trustworthiness

Beyond the marketing plans and compiled market research behind closed doors, it’s immensely important for businesses to regard another universal sentiment among consumers: to be wanted and liked. Staffers dealing with customers directly can have a big influence on their purchasing patterns. They talk to customers who may experience poor eye contact, lack of enthusiasm, dismissive vocal tone, and other unwelcome characteristics which make them less likely to purchase or do business with the store.

Coca-Cola does this excellently on their social media, as evidenced by their responses to commenters on their page. One commenter says, “Coke is the best!” Coke’s response is “No, you! ☺”, making the person complementing feel good about themselves while Coke looks humble. It’s a win-win:

coca-cola1

Surveys show that consumers feeling ignored is quite common, so businesses that comprise the 37% considered to have good to excellent service are certainly at a deserved advantage. Gaining customers’ trust and enjoyment is pivotal to them becoming regulars, so whether you’re speaking to them by phone or in person, it’s important to make them feel wanted and appreciated.

Show Off Your Expertise

In 2016, consumers are fully aware that they are just one or two clicks away from finding a nearby competitor to your services/products. The competition results in more of a need than ever for businesses to fully showcase their expertise.

It’s safe to say that knowledgeable and competent employees are valued highly by all types of consumers. As such, it’s a good idea for any staff to be fully aware of the products they’re selling, even with knowledge of what to do in case of a potential repair.

Plus, if an employee says something along the lines of, “I have one at home,” it humanizes them as well as making the product more enticing, especially with the addition of information that shows knowledge. Consumers love it when an employee shows knowledge about a niche and then recommends a product within that niche, as it makes them feel like they’re in on a secret.

Going back to Lenovo, they also showcase expertise on their social media by responding to support questions individually, like they did below with download issues for a customer:

lenovo2

Value Criticism

Not all criticism is valid, especially in business and marketing, but it should always be taken in with an open mind, especially if the criticism is coming from a consumer who is familiar with the business. Outside of universal desires, market surveys, and exuding friendliness and trustworthiness, it is difficult to tap into the true feelings of consumers, so whenever they have something to say, a business owner and staff should be full ears.

Consumers want to feel appreciated as well, so visibly showing that you will regard their criticism can go a long way. For example, instead of lashing out at a customer for writing some harsh words, they try to remedy the issue and ease his concerns.

There is no universal strategy for tapping into the mindset of a business’ audience. However, certain aforementioned attributes are universal enough to the point where a business can assume that consumers want it, such as visible expertise, friendliness, trustworthiness, and providing useful items/services.

About the Author: Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She constantly researches trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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