Do you remember the days when simply knowing your customers first name was sufficient? You could address them personally, you knew their preferences, their budget and if they wanted casual or formal conversations. Many of these interactions occurred face to face or via telephone. Today’s consumer still wants that personal attention. They want to know that you know exactly who they are. This shows that you value their business and care about them as an individual. In today’s digital world of marketing, you need to know much more than just their first name and phone number.
Along with knowing who our customers are in the “real” world, we need to know who they are in the online world. Are they on Facebook? Do they prefer Twitter? Perhaps they have a passion for writing and love to blog on a frequent basis. When we know the online identities of our niche market, our potential customers and our current customers, we can engage effectively. In truth, many of our customers feel more at ease online. They are able to voice opinions on forums and via status updates that they may not feel comfortable voicing to you directly. Social networking platforms have become the front line for customer service representation. The key is to know your customers online identities and to pay attention to what they have to say. Mrs. Jane Smith may not call you to tell you that she was not thrilled with her latest purchase, but @jsmith may voice her dissatisfaction on Twitter.
Our customer’s online voice goes hand in hand with transparency. Meaning, consumers want to know everything there is to know about your brand. They also want to be heard. Online interaction allows you as a business to listen to what your customers have to say. This medium also allows you to direct the conversation into the “real world” with the goal of having a satisfied customer. What does this mean? Simply put, you must monitor what your customers are saying. If they are happy, be grateful and send out many thank you replies. If they are unhappy, give them a place to take their complaints to have them solved. Having a designated email address such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org are great ways to filter complaints and negative reviews to the individuals who can solve their problems.
As marketers, our job may seem easier with the amount of advertising and marketing efforts that are done from the convenience of a computer. What we need to remember is that while we can be much more visible and attract attention outside of our natural circle of influence, we must also be more vigilant. By paying attention and addressing our customers online, we are showing them that we value their business. This is how you will maintain a satisfied customer base, which is your number one goal.
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