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Back in the days before Yelp and the internet (gasp), the business/customer relationship was like an extended family – tight knit, bound to a specific territory, and willing to do anything for each other. Need a tailored suit but don’t get paid for two weeks? Bill’s Tuxes has got you covered. The corner grocery needs someone to sweep the floors? Barb’s nephew would gladly volunteer his time.
These symbiotic and devoted relationships may seem like a thing of the past, but venturing outside the neighborhood doesn’t mean sacrificing those personal touches. Entrepreneurs and small business owners are dominating when it comes to providing a personalized experience. Why? Because they are investing their precious resources into putting a premium on solving customer problems. They are finding that rather than loose their voice in a sea of Google adverts and Yelp lists, automated marketing can actually support the concept of intimacy between their business and any number of customers.
Customer loyalty is not a punch-card or a rewards program, but a genuine desire for the customer to see a business succeed and grow as an active contributor. For that to happen, the customer wants to see more than a product or a building façade. Rather, the company needs to have a personality. This is especially the case with Millennials, who are now entering the workforce – and therefore the consumer market – in droves. They need to feel like they are either contributing to a philanthropic cause (think Tom’s shoes), or that the company’s ‘style’ dovetails with their own.
By ‘style’, we aren’t talking about physical attributes of a product, we are talking about the overall personality of the establishment selling it. The customer wants more than a product – they want to feel secure in spending their hard earned money with the right people. If you had to choose between buying Girl Scout cookies from your niece, or at a kiosk at the mall, which would you choose? Same product, different feeling associated with purchasing.
As with all relationships, this admiration cannot be one sided – the customer wants to feel acknowledged as well. Mattersight commissioned a study of more than 1,000 consumers and found that it took 12 positive calls to make up for one unresolved negative customer service experience. If that wasn’t enough, 75 percent of customers feel frustrated after talking to a call center agent even if their problem was solved. Your customers not only want their problems solved, but want to feel heard and validated in the process. Small cracks in your marketing outreach can lead to gaping holes in customer satisfaction and consequently retention. It is essential to give your customers a personalized experience to make them feel they are a true priority, not just another number.
The right marketing campaign can provide a small business distinct personality to a much larger network. With Mission Suite, we get on the front lines with you to make sure that there are no cracks in the foundation so that your company is showing its full potential to the world.