If you are a business owner seeking to increase profits, one of the best areas to look at is your customers. It is a well-known fact that people do business with those they know, like, and trust. So, why not focus on building up an online customer community? By building such a community, customers end up engaging more with you, your other employees, and even other customers. This makes for a more educated customer, along with someone who will stick around a long time. But how can you build such a community? And what other ways will this benefit your business?
The first way you can build up community and loyalty is by rewarding people for their patronage. This could be anything from add-ons and vouchers to loyalty discounts, preferred customer cards, special pricing, bonuses, and gifts. You could even build an online forum or private customer community. This way, all your preferred customers can interact with each other in a secure private network. It is also vital that you and people from your company actually spend time in and with this community as well. This helps to improve engagement and builds trust and likeability.
Reduces Support Costs:
As your community grows, you will also notice that support costs decrease. This is only natural since your best customers are now becoming better educated and feel almost like evangelists for your company. They even increase the level of knowledge by freely sharing information right in the community. Oftentimes, when a customer has a question, they will pose it to the community rather than directly engaging with your own support staff.
Increases Customer Satisfaction:
There is marketing principle at work here known as reciprocity. When you give people value, and then do this over and over again, they will end up feeling almost grateful for recommending you to others and they will become some of the most satisfied customers you could ever imagine. In order to do this, it can be very helpful to understand what your customers want and what they are hoping to get out of this relationship. Then, simply figure out ways to give it to them!
Make Promises You Can Keep:
Find staff that are as committed to providing first class customer service as you are. Then you need to determine what you are actually able to deliver. You never want to make promises that you fail to deliver. That would end up totally derailing your campaign to build a thriving community. This may mean expanding staff, or possibly replacing those who might not be quite as committed to customer service as you would like. The next step is to focus on delivering your promises better than anyone else.
Train your staff. There should never be an instance where a customer is interacting with one of your businesses employees and they are met with a blank stare. Give them all the knowledge needed to provide service at such a high standard, whether this is in-person, over the phone, or online.
Building an online customer community is a great way to really establish an excellent business reputation. Your profits will increase and customers will go out of their way to buy from you and recommend your business to others. Plus, you will find cost like support center expenses decreasing, freeing up more of your employee’s time. Just make sure to follow the tips above and you should have a thriving community in no time.
Author: Lauren Hart Piper is the Vice President of Product Management and Marketing for Enterprise Hive.