It’s winter, the time of year when every gathering seems to be centered on sharing food, warmth, and time together. These simple traditions have been humanity’s best defense against once-lethal long nights and freezing temperatures since time immemorial. From a business standpoint, this season is a fascinating example of how effective human kindness can be.
I’m particularly interested in creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for everyone right now because in the last few years there’s been a sharp upswing in “brand switching,” or customers leaving one brand for another. Many of these customers cite poor service among their reasons for leaving.
In the US alone, this “switching economy” has increased by roughly 30 percent in the last five years. That means that 1.6 trillion consumer dollars are waiting to be won over. In India that number is $331 billion, with a whopping 88 percent of customers stating they’d swap brands due to poor service. Here are just a few ways to help make your company the inviting place customers are looking for.
- A personal touch can go a long way toward winning customers over. Unfortunately, simple segmentation doesn’t do the trick any more. No longer are customers impressed that you know they buy socks. Knowing they buy seasonal socks every third Thursday, on the other hand, allows you to add personalized value to your campaigns.
- No two customers are alike when it comes to shopping and doing research. Knowing which channels different folks like to frequent allows you to focus in and talk to clients on their own terms.
- Gathering insights on new prospects shouldn’t just be about making that first sale. Forge strong connections through shared contacts and interests and you could be on your way to a lasting relationship. Remember to add these personal details to each client’s profile for the next rep or service agent down the line.
- Collaborative selling can be a great way to show customers how much their business matters to you. By adding an expert to your videoconference or coauthoring proposal documents on the fly, you’ll build customer relationships that matter.
- When asked, 32 percent of customers said they switched brands due to being handed off to too many different agents. While you can’t always avoid transferring these folks, you can make sure they don’t have to repeat their basic information each time.
- Keep detailed customer profiles, and make sure new notes are added to these after each call. You can also use the data in these profiles to match customers with agents that share their interests.
Brand switching is a massive force for change, and lots of customer dollars are at stake. Give customers a warm, inviting environment however, and you may find that this winter of customer discontent is your favorite season after all.
If you’re looking for more tools designed to help your marketing, sales, service, and social teams keep the customers you have and welcome those you don’t, take a test drive of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.