How to improve your client relationship management in 2018?
Everyone and their mother say 2018 is a year of client relationships, empathic marketing and customer care. It’s no news that you can win client’s loyalty thanks to skilled customer success team. Research shows that 73% of customers said it’s “friendly staff and great service” what make them love your brand.
The thing is, the industry is evolving along with the technologies. Customer care doesn’t apply only to answering calls from angry clients anymore. All successful brands are implementing customer lifecycle strategies now. The idea is based on proactively animating audiences through the whole sales funnel as a part of building genuine relationships. From brand awareness to retention.
To do so, you should accompany your Buyer Persona on the customer journey, each step carefully planned so that in the end you can meet again – and with his friends as new potential buyers. Take the loop again and again and you will never have to worry about your company.
It’s probably easier said than done but to keep hope let’s take a closer look at how the big fish do it.
Step 1: Awareness
It’s not much likely that somebody will buy your product if they don’t know your brand. Or at least do so knowingly. But do you want to be that sad little brand which people throw to the chart not even looking at the package? I bet you don’t. We all want to be those swag brands which people wear proudly and brag about. However, it takes a whole lot of effort to break through to customers’ awareness. A lot of time and campaigns which may seem pointless.
It’s very hard to measure the direct result of sponsoring, partnerships or other awareness campaigns as they are aimed at long-term goals. If you don’t have the means for a wide-spread campaign, try to focus mainly on your target to become present at least in your industry. Try to define what they need or aspire to and provide it. The ultimate campaign in social media times is the viral one and however it’s hard to foresee what will stick, the viral campaigns are usually based on simple emotions. So you need to stand out, set your tone, and keep consistent. That way you make sure people will get to know you pretty well.
When you become one of these big brands, however, that’s when you need to think outside the box for you must never stop seeking your audience’s favors. When you’re big and everyone thinks they know you, you take the unusual approach.
Try doing crazy things, like Red Bull does.
Or start from a crib, like Nike did with their “girly” campaign.
Step 2. Acquisition
After you’ve broken the ice, you make sure you keep in touch. Give people content they want to consume so that they won’t forget you. That’s why marketers are preaching quality content. It’s a crucial part of a successful marketing strategy. The substance.
In the world of online media, it’s best to get people to subscribe to your channels. For example, you can get people hooked by giving them educational materials they need. A good SEO strategy will go a long way. If you’ve got your audience’s needs defined and work well with search engines, you can find relevant audience.
If you’re looking for inspiration, take a look at HubSpot. It’s probably the most recognisable quality content provider in the marketing world. As the HubSpot Academy, they offer a list of industry-oriented free courses, which are pretty basic but thorough and very digestible. Thanks to that, they’ve established a strong position of an expert in the field.
Step 3. Engagement
At this point, you’ve probably noticed it’s hard to separate each step of customer lifecycle strategy. For it to work to your advantage, your activities should go simultaneously. This is one of the traits of non-linear marketing. Your awareness campaign may lead directly to purchase, your sales might cause acquisition etc.
Be prepared for your Buyer Persona wandering through the stages of your sales funnel in a nonconventional way. Because why not? In the world of mobile, people are used to get what they want when they want it. And as a marketer, your job is not to complain at the “kids today”, right? People’s attention span dropped in the last few years and it’s less than goldfish now. Funny as it seems, it doesn’t surprise me, to be honest. We get so much information on our news feeds, message apps, ads displays, that it’s getting overwhelming. And let’s be honest, not all of it is worth our time. That’s why we got immune to information. We scan through hundreds of headlines a day so it was inevitable to filter it somehow.
That’s why for you as a brand it’s getting harder to break through. However, you get more channels to get to customers. With social media, blogs, forums, review sites, you can be practically everywhere. The key is to provide content that your audience would want to interact with and that will encourage discussions or your product usage (like tutorials, webinars, live demos). Make sure you give it an educational or entertaining value.
You think avocados are flat and boring? Well, Lidl UK added some game to them.
Engagement doesn’t always mean a large scale. You can engage with people individually by inspiring them to take responsibility. Simple images are the most memorable, like in Guinness ad.
Step 4. Sales
There’s a huge potential in online when it comes to sales strategies and it doesn’t apply only to ecommerce. 75% of customers admit they use social media as a part of the buying process [source]. In psychology, it’s called the social proof. We like to buy what others have. Either to live up to expectations or to simply make sure we spend money on something that’s been tested and is recommended by others. Active social community can inspire wider audiences to buy your products or services so keep up with social media.
Make sure you cover all social media discussions whether it’s the review of your product, your competition or expressing a purchase intent. Using social listening, you can track all conversations from thousands of sources. All you do is simply set the keywords you want to look for, like your brand’s name, your competitors’ brands names, or any other phrase you find useful. You will get the search results with mentions from all sources in one place. Joining these discussions can save you from social media crisis, keep the engagement, support retention, and of course turn into a sales opportunity.
Look how TELUS engaged with vulnerable competitor’s client.
With social listening platforms, you can get your search from social media, blogs, forums, and review sites gathered and analysed. However, to get the process of answering to mentions even faster, you may want to check client relationship management systems, like SentiOne React.
It is a complex solution full of automation functionalities that will keep your online brand management nice and easy. It gives you the possibility to answer to customer’s issues on multiple channels directly from one tool and organise your workflows. If you want to set your online communication in order or take an innovative approach to customer care, book a demo to see how your brand can benefit from this all-in-one platform.
Step 5. Retention
What you can achieve with top of the class customer care goes further than lead generation or even closing deals via online channels. The ultimate prize for all your lifecycle activities is a loyal customer. A buyer who will give the word “cycle” in lifecycle a meaning. The main difference between the old sales funnel or customer journey and the lifecycle is that in the end your buyer should want to take another round and come back with some friends. Which in the long run makes your company growth spiral.
Taking post-sales care of your clients is definitely one of the most important parts of the process, as increasing retention by 2% has the same impact on your expenses as cutting costs by 10%. That’s why your relationships with clients should be built on strong bonds. The more human-like your brand appear, the more people will trust you and connect with you.
How to show a human face as a brand? Use the “magic words” (and no, I don’t mean “abracadabra”).
- “Hello” – acknowledge your client’s existence. Don’t treat them just as charts and wallets. Try audience segmentation and personalise your message.
- “Thank you” – be grateful and show appreciation. After all, they keep your business alive. Offer repeat purchase discounts or exclusive promotions.
- “Please” – ask for opinion. You can benefit a lot from constructive feedback or reviews. Use it to improve your brand and get ahead of competitors.
- “I’m sorry” – make up for your mistakes. Whatever you did, never sweep it under the carpet. Always make amends because the internet doesn’t forget. In fact, a little human error can do you well if you play around it, like McDonald’s did.
If you aim at building relationships with clients, make sure you diversify your activities. When it comes to media, shifting from offline channels to web shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. More and more clients require 24/7 assistance from brands. There are 1.3 billion Messenger users active monthly so – according to tech business forecasts – intelligent chatbots are probably the most likely future of client service. However, the reactive approach is still not enough. What you need to know as well is the majority of discussions about your brand might not happen on your official channels. You may not get a notification and in the end leave customer’s issue unattended. What’s more, to keep up with all your clients’ needs on all internet channels you would have to click through thousands of sources (like social media, review sites, blogs, forums etc.) and address countless mentions.
To save yourself trouble, try automation. This way you can read, analyse, and join all online conversations about your brand and industry directly from one tool. And measure your effectiveness to make sure your business decisions are truly data-driven.