Use Feedback and Education to Keep Customers Coming Back

by Sean Ogino | Customer Loyalty

Meaningful and effective communication is the main driver for maintaining and retaining your most valuable customers. The COVID-19 crisis has caused millions of people to search for information and stay connected despite having to stay at home. Retailers, brands, manufacturers and distributors should all be very engaged and connected with their existing customer base in an effort to retain them during this critical time.  

If you’ve been following our recent series, we’ve been talking a lot about communicating effectively with your existing customer base to help you retain the customers you need both right now and when this is all over. We want to focus on that communication to help make sure you’re reaching them effectively and smartly.

In this article, we’ll be focusing on eliciting customer feedback from trusted and key customers. We will explore what kind of feedback you should be requesting and how it can help you build trust with your customers.  

We’ll also hit on nurturing campaigns and how to use them for your most important customers – specifically educating them and keeping them informed about your business. We’ll hit on topics to keep them educated about – your loyalty program, your Unique Selling Points, your acts of corporate social responsibility, etc. We’ll dive deeper into the numbers to see how we can help you retain your most valuable customers.

Elicit Customer Feedback from Key, Trusted Customers

Feedback is the linchpin of understanding customer needs. Whether it’s making sure your customer is enjoying a purchase or choosing the next product to build for the market, customer feedback should be a regular and ongoing process for your business.

During such a critical time as this, even putting together a small survey to get feedback from your most important customers (trusted clients or the top 10% of your customers) can give you a great sense of what these customers need from you in a time of crisis.  A simple survey can surface some very interesting findings such as:

  1. What is their current disposition? The top 10% of your customers or clients are your most valuable asset, and knowing where they stand gives you valuable insight into how to approach them in your nurturing efforts.
  2. What kind of support do they need? Are they looking for advice, need customer success to step in, or looking for inspiring tales from your business? Customers and businesses need support in a lot of different ways, and an open-ended question can provide some important marketing insight.
  3. How are they planning for the future? This is probably the most essential. What do they expect to happen in the next 30-60-90 days? With this knowledge, you can be prepared for any speed bumps, try to mitigate any potential risk, and also help prepare future messaging to better connect with your customers.  
  4. And what kind of decisions do you need to be focused on? Answers to those questions can really highlight what you need to be doing and can give you the clarity you need to take action.

The usefulness of eliciting customer feedback doesn’t end there. By engaging your top 10% during this time you’re 1) Sending the signal to them that you value them and their opinion and 2) you put yourself back on Top-of-Mind. These are two critical activities that fulfill the need for communication during this time and you’re fulfilling that need with your most important customers.

Nurture your customers by educating them

Eliciting feedback from customers is one of the many important tasks in nurturing your customer base. However, getting this feedback is just one step in an ongoing series of steps to retain your customers. Let’s examine two major areas – education about your loyalty program and education about your community and corporate social responsibility initiatives.   

We touched on both of these subjects for a bit in our second installment of this series, which you can read here. We talked specifically about how you can use those two topics to drive traffic to your website, which is one of the most critical pieces of infrastructure you have.

But when it comes to nurturing your customers and making sure you’re retaining them during these most difficult times, you need to educate them. That means making sure they understand your brand, how you reward them, how you want to interact with them, and how you are showing your commitment to social responsibility. This will be key to sending the correct messages to the customers that you want to keep when this is all over.

In an effort to better educate your customer base on your loyalty program, you need to clear and concise with respect to the following:

  1. How your loyalty program works
  2. What are the expectations for the customer
  3. How often should be they expected to receive rewards
  4. How often changes will be made or promotions will be launched

These four pillars can and should be reviewed on a consistent basis.  A good loyalty program should always be updated and made current with changes in the market and competitive differentiation.  Top emails that work include – getting members to update their social media information, referring friends, writing reviews, sending reminder emails about their current point status, and more. These regular emails can help balance out your email cadences and show your customer base how much you value the relationship but also that it is a two-way street.  

And that two-way street is also important when it comes to social responsibility. Fulfilling obligations to your local communities is key to engendering goodwill with your customer base and acquiring new customers as well. Salesforce is actively courting their employees’ friends and family for new employment opportunities during this economic downturn. This is a good example among community and social responsibility that people will remember.  

And when you engage in those type of social activities, feel free to share it so people can see that you are doing your part in a time of crisis. This is another talking point to help you retain customers and potentially get some new ones as well.

We’ll be continuing this series next week, so stay tuned for our next update.

 
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