No matter what type of business you run, your customers are the backbone of your company. In this article we discuss How to Build a Stronger Brand Thanks to Your Customers.
Without customers, you wouldn’t have revenue or a reason to work from day to day. If your brand is weak, your patrons can help you build it into a powerhouse.
It takes 50 milliseconds for someone to form an opinion of your brand based on interactions with your website or your store. You make an impression faster than you can open your mouth and say hello to your customers. Every aspect of your branding matters.
If you want a stronger brand, you must seek the advice of your customers. However, you must also pay attention to other cues. People won’t always tell you what they need.
They may not even know exactly what they need. It’s your job to dig deeper and find the perfect combination of elements making up an excellent user experience (UX).
1. Review Your Reputation
Spend some time searching your name online. Read through all reviews, both positive and negative. Take notes on what you’re doing well and what might be improved.
Your customers aren’t likely to help you build your brand if they aren’t happy with your service.
Look at any calls you’ve received from clients. What are their top complaints? Have you fixed any known problems with your product or service?
Ask for feedback from your customers. How can you most improve? What do they love and what do they hate? Gather as much information as possible so you can create a stellar UX.
2. Build Trust
Show your customers you care about them and their causes. One example of a company going out of their way to show how much they value health is CVS Pharmacy.
CVS stopped selling tobacco products, which cost the company $2 billion a year.
The fact that they would give up that much profit simply to stand behind their unique value proposition lends itself to trust. You can trust a company that puts the well being of its customers ahead of money.
In order to gain the trust of your clients, you must stand behind what you say. Fix any issues that arise. Be consistent with your policies and approach.
3. Open Lines of Communication
The way we communicate has changed in the last year or two. People would much rather open an app or log onto a live chat and have a discussion with a faceless rep.
They want their problems solved immediately and professionally.
Think about who your target customer is and what their preferred method of communication might be. Use language they understand.
Don’t get extremely technical with people who won’t understand the terms. Don’t talk down to people who are advanced.
Send out questionnaires seeking input on how you can improve. Pick up the phone and call your top clients to see if they need product, have a question or need further assistance.
Invest in customer relationship management (CRM) software. Using CRM helps ensure no one falls through the cracks.
4. Asking for Help
Those who buy from you regularly already love your brand. They may not know you need help marketing and getting the word out.
Send a short note asking them to refer you to others.
Many people are more than happy to spread the word. They just don’t know how or realize you need assistance.
Take the time to build materials they can easily share. Your customers are the driving force behind your name.
They can accomplish more with word-of-mouth than you might imagine.
5. Seek Reviews
Consumers listen to what their peers have to say. Around 90% of people read online reviews before they decide to make a purchase.
Just as you can use negative reviews to improve your brand, you can seek positive feedback to show others what you do well.
Whenever you interact with a customer, ask if they’d leave you some honest feedback on the review site of your choice.
You can then share the top reviews on your website and social media pages.
Never tell a customer what type of feedback to leave you. If you’re doing everything else right, the review will almost always be positive.
At the same time, you can learn from any comments that aren’t 100% favorable.
Show other people you care about what your clients think by responding to the review and offering to fix whatever issues they might have had.
You can’t please everyone all the time, but you can do your best. Potential customers will be watching for your response.
6. Start a Referral Program
Reward your top customers when they tell others what you do. A referral programs gives them a reason to share your link on their social media pages or tell their family and friends to stop in and see you.
Think of your long-time customers as brand ambassadors. They can serve as the face and voice of your brand.
The program doesn’t cost anything unless the person sends you a successful lead. Consider this part of your overall marketing efforts.
Be Your Best
The fastest way to build a strong brand image is by doing your best and putting your customers first. Own up to any mistakes you make.
Take the time to improve processes and get outside input about what you need to change.
Big corporations often overlook individual customers. You, however, can excel at meeting their needs and personalizing their experience.
Each person has expectations about what they’ll receive when they do business with you. Make sure you not only meet but exceed what they think you’ll deliver.
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If you’re looking to learn more about brand strategy, we highly recommend eRESONAID with our friend and acclaimed brand strategist and author Fabian Geyrhalter, it’s packed full of knowledge and insights you will need to learn to become a brand strategist or apply what you learn within your own business.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a prominent digital marketing agency prior to becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and pup, Bear.