February 07, 2013

Protecting Your Business's Most Valuable Asset


If you asked business owners about the most important piece of their company puzzle, what do you think they would say? A strong leadership team? A novel product? A great and dedicated staff? A good small business CRM tool?

All of these things are incredibly important to the success at any company, but at Contactually HQ, we strongly believe that our customers, both old and new, are the most critical piece of our business. In retrospect, this shouldn't surprise you. After all, we designed our automatic contact manager to help you and your business stay in touch with these important business sources. These kinds of customer relations have also become more important across the board with the increased adoption of social media platforms, making word-of-mouth and referral marketing particularly priceless assets.

Now that we've established the importance of devoted customers to your business, what can you do to increase their brand loyalty to ensure that they're with you for the long haul? Follow these simple tips when interacting with your customers, and you'll see their loyalty go through the roof.

1. Respond quickly and personally. How many times have you received a generic autoresponder message in response to one of your customer service inquiries? Probably too many to count! At Contactually, we make sure to answer all of the messages that we receive as quickly as we possibly can. While we know from first-hand experience that this can be difficult at times, our customers really appreciate the attentive nature of our support team.

Additionally, we make sure to personalize our responses based on any problems that the customer might have described. When you receive a response from one of us, we'll always attach our name and contact information at the end of the message, rather from "the Support Team" or some non-specific classification. Putting a name to the face (of your company) goes a very long way!

2. Utilize all possible feedback channels. In this day and age, your customers have a ton -- almost too many! -- ways of getting in touch with you and your company. Make sure that your support-handling staff members are familiar with all of these platforms and actively monitor all of them. Your fans (and enemies) will talk about you in places like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, LinkedIn, email, and more, so it's incredibly important to have a firm handle on what's being said and where. Try using a content management tool like HootSuite or HubSpot that will reduce any possible friction in your workflow and will allow you to monitor who's saying what about your brand.

3. Give thanks and more. Whenever a new customer signs up, upgrades their payment plan, posts something positive on social media, or... well, you get the point... explicitly thank them in your response to their actions or feedback. People love feeling appreciated, and you certainly appreciate their business so this step should come naturally. As an added bonus, direct them to something else directly related to your company that they might find interesting. Did you recently publish a new piece of content, like an eBook or a whitepaper? Could you intro them to someone else in your company that would be able to address their needs or pain points? Going above and beyond a traditional thank you will ensure that your customers stick with you long-term.

4. Keep in touch regularly. Are any of you really surprised to see this tip here? You can use a wide variety of tools like newsletters to make sure your brand stays top-of-mind with your customer base. Did you just release a new product feature? Reach an important company milestone? Let your customers know! At Contactually, our motto is "Tactus refert manere," meaning "it is important to keep in touch." It's the key to your business's continued success, and we have a few dozen case studies to prove it.

What practices do you and your employees use to increase customer loyalty? Tweet us @Contactually or let us know in the comments. We're eager to expand our best practices with the ones that you've tried and are true!