The current economy has made the average consumer very conservative about their spending. They are becoming more selective in what they buy and who they do business with. For businesses, things have become more competitive as they vie for the attention of consumers. This raises the bar for customer service. In order to excel in business, you must put your customer first.
Your customers value their privacy. There have been too many reports of unscrupulous businesses collecting and selling customer information to outside parties for a profit. This is an unethical practice. As a merchant, you should never collect any personal information on your customers without their approval. If you need personal information, say for setting up an account, you must be clear about how you will will use that information. If that trust is violated, you can do irreparable damage to your business reputation.
Offer your customers exactly what they need. Solicit opinions and use their feedback to improve your business. Some merchants make the mistake of focusing too much on the product and not enough on the customer. That leads to a risk of developing a product in the wrong direction. Consumer opinions are very important in building a business, so take every opportunity to get feedback whenever you can.
Offer something for free whenever you can. “Free” is the magic word that can motivate someone to visit a website. Free shipping or a free gift with purchase can always spark some interest. Consumer research has shown that when the average customer who takes advantage of a free offer always ends up buying more.
If you have customers who have willingly offered their information and they have created accounts with you, you need a tool to organize that customer information. Find a reliable customer relationship management (CRM) tool to help you organize and plan. A good CRM application can help you keep track of each customer’s preferences, purchases, correspondences with you, and other aspects. For instance, if a birth date was given, a CRM system can alert you to that so you can offer your customer a personal reward on that particular date. This personalized attention can have big impact on your customer.
You should have a good profile of your average customer. You should extend it further by thinking about what related services would be relevant to them. Write these down, then look for reputable businesses in these areas whom you can partner with as an affiliate. Combining offers and incentives can be mutually beneficial for you and your affiliate in that both your businesses can potentially gain new customers.
If you can keep your focus on your customer, your business strategies will fall into place. Always give your customers the respect and attention that they deserve. Answer their questions promptly, and resolve any order problems as quickly as possible. Good merchants will be highly recommended and will receive good reviews. If you can focus your marketing approach this way, you will stay well ahead of your competitors.