Ways to Connect with Customers

“Understanding people, is not a waste of time”. – Mark Zuckerberg

It is vital to keep talking to your customers since that is the best way to understand them and their needs. If your company is not talking to customers, then you most certainly will not be able to form a connection with them and now with the numerous communication channels available, it seems rather blasé that you don’t connect with your customers enough. There are many ways to connect with customers but it is for your company and business to decide which way or ways are most effective for you. The ways to connect with customers start by active listening. When your company displays enthusiasm to know its customers, it triggers an interest in the customers to let you know what they really want from your company. They don’t mind sharing personal information and that is invaluable data for any business since it draws you closer to your customer. Understanding their likes and dislikes allows you to personalize your customer service and products to suit them.

Times have changed significantly and there are more ways to connect with customers than ever thought possible. Social media, email, smart device applications, discussion forums, online chats, exhibitions and road shows – the list is seemingly endless. Which one or a combination of each, will work best for your company is dependent on your customer base and which channel or channels they prefer to communicate through. Which of the ways to connect with customers is most effective? Most people are obsessed with the world of social media and being a highly visible platform customers choose it to connect with companies and expect that they will have greater access to your brand and to be able to learn more about your company. Businesses and brands that make it easier for customers to communicate with them easily and also respond to the communication are the ones that will be successful. The others will find it hard to even survive.

Of course, in the bid to outrun competition, companies may blindly and without putting too much thought, invest resources in a particular method to reach their customers. However, it would be prudent to check with current customers, how they would like to connect. For prospective customers it would be best to try myriad forms of connecting and track which one clicks with which customer.

– Conduct field surveys of customers. These allow your business to identify a cross-section of customers and also assess their needs directly. By hearing directly from them what they want it becomes simpler for companies to customize products to fulfil the needs and expectations of the customers. When customers perceive the products and service as being attuned to them, it proves to be one of the more effective ways to connect with customers.

– Send out hard copy newsletters and or e-mailers that should have information pertinent to the market segment that the customer operates in and also segments that let them know what’s new with your business. Articles should be a source of knowledge and it would be beneficial to add some useful resource links as well. When customers see the value this information adds, your company will remain on their radar and they would most certainly connect with you for their business related needs. Newsletters are a great way to integrate prospective customers as well. With the rise of social media, it would be smart to add this functionality too. This helps your company to add weight to its social media content and also makes it easier for customers to share it and comment on it.

– It is a well-known fact that amongst the ways to connect with customers, keeping your website fresh and throbbing is a positive way to create a flow of communication with your customers. A daily blog with fresh and insightful content is a great way to keep your customers connected with you and excited about what your company has to offer.

– Set down ground rules in your company to respond to customer communication via email within half an hour. It seems unfair to customers to ask them to be patient and “expect a response within 24 to 48 hours”. This is just not customer service and customers are unwilling to wait this long anymore. The aim is to delight the customer with service and to find ways to connect with customers, not push them away with timelines that are comfortable for your company.

– To establish contact or reconnect with a customer, it is always a great option to give them a call. Other reasons to connect with customers via the phone could be to follow up post a delivery, conveying an apology or even to check on why they have not given any more business to you. This is one of the more effective ways to connect with customers and also build and strengthen relationships. It is also a great way to lend a human touch and receive instant feedback and responses from customers.

– Nothing beats face to face interactions with customers. If they are available and willing to have a meeting, go over with the intention to listen rather than with the intent to sell. This is the most personal of the ways to connect with customers. It gives your company the opportunity to not just hear the words spoken but also grasp in more detail what they want by way of body language and expression. This is particularly useful when a customer is threatening to leave or you are trying to gain a new customer.

– Make your customers feel special and valued. In this age of online messages and cards, send them a personalized handwritten note by the mail letting them know how much their business means to your company. It is a known fact that people prefer doing business with those they like and when customers receive such tokens of appreciation, they tend to be more loyal and profitable and also let their associates and friends know about you.

– The reach and visibility of social media makes it one of the fastest and most efficient ways to connect with customers and prospective ones. There are many other people too who can see your company’s ‘page’ and you post effective content on social media, it gets these ‘untargeted’ folk interested as well. Social media has the potential to reach out to people across countries and from varied demographics, so it is helpful for companies to keep the ‘conversation’ in flow. Social media chats are a great way to address customer concerns and queries and get noticed by others for the quality and speed of your customer service.

– Conducting exhibitions and road shows are the kind of live events that instantly lets you connect with customers. This creates a feeling of cheer and goodwill and allows customers and prospective ones to connect with your company in an informal setting. These live events set the mood for positive interactions making it easier to get across to people.

– Providing the facility of an online chat for customers is one of the quick and effective ways to connect with customers. For customers it is a chance to interact with a live person and receive answers to their queries and concerns immediately. These written chats can be recorded and used to train your customer service employees and the customer too has a copy of the conversation. This makes it easier to check back and recall the discussions had via the chat.

We are sure that your company has other ways of interacting with customers. The very fact that there are so many ways, indicates that it is vital to find ways to connect with customers and make good use of these communication channels to add value to your customers and their business. It is prudent and crucial for companies to keep a look out for signs and indications customers send via a variety of communication channels and the success of your business will depend on how well your company and representatives interpret these signs and finds ways to connect with customers. Don’t miss out on the plethora of opportunities!

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