Jay Baer is quoted as saying “Customer service is the new marketing, it’s what differentiates one business from another.”
Are you using your customers as a source of learning? Because they could possibly be the best marketing guide you’ll ever need.
While it’s never fun to deal with customers who aren’t thrilled with some aspect of your business, their feedback can be some of the most valuable intel you’ll ever get.
The more you know about your customers, the better you will be at understanding how and where to reach them.
Satisfied customers can give you information on what you need to do more of. Dissatisfied customers are a valuable source of where you need to make improvements in your business.
Taken together, getting feedback from your customers and making changes along the way can be one of the best guides you can have to marketing success.
Make New Friends, But Keep the Old
As the familiar adage goes, it takes months to find a customer and only seconds to lose one!
Too often, businesses are focused on finding new leads and turning those leads into new customers. And, that is important. But retaining existing customers is possibly even more important to keep your business growing.
Keeping a current customer engaged and satisfied is well worth the effort. If you don’t take the time to find out what they are thinking, you’ll have a hard time increasing your customer loyalty.
It’s really in your best interest to continually ask for feedback from your customers.
In fact, research shows that increasing customer retention by 5 percent can potentially increase your profits by 25 to 95 percent. And to keep those customers, you’ll need to find out what it is they have to say about your product or service.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
So how do you start?
Once you’ve assessed your business and have completed a SWOT analysis, you can create a simple, actionable marketing plan.
Before executing your plan, you may need to rinse it a bit through a review with your key stakeholders and your internal team. These key people will help identify blind spots, uncover opportunities for growth that you may have missed, and will ultimately help you to build and bind your vision.
Finally, you’re ready to execute. Before you get started, ensure you and your team are all on board with the metrics you will be using to measure success. You’ll want to keep an eye on these to ensure you are meeting the goals you set out for yourself and/or your team.
Once you are solidly into your marketing strategy execution, you can make sure you are on the right path by asking for feedback from both internal customers (your staff / team) and external customers.
Here are a few ways you can gain that feedback:
- Surveys or focus groups
- An old-fashioned chat with a customer
- Web analytics
- Open and click-through rates in your email marketing campaigns
- Social media comments / reactions
Now that you’ve got your customer feedback, use it to modify your plan where necessary. In fact, it’s vital to look at how to modify your plan before things get too far off track. Getting good at the customer feedback loop (repeating as needed) and being able to pivot can save you both time and money.
Finally, don’t forget to follow up with your customers to give them the results as well.
Your Customer’s Satisfaction Makes the Brand Difference
According to recent studies, customer experience has overtaken both price and product as a key brand differentiator.
Being proactive by creating a customer feedback loop about your service or product will pay large dividends down the road.
You’ll gain the competitive advantage by making sure you are testing the waters and finding out how you are doing in executing your marketing strategy before anything can throw you too far from your path to success.
Brooke Deram is the CEO/Founder at Tomato Fish Marketing, an Indianapolis-based WBE Marketing Consulting firm focused on building stronger small and midsized business marketing foundations through evaluation, engagement, and execution.