We have all heard the saying, “The customer is always right.” While there are instances when that may not be the case, this saying is justified in every industry, in some capacity. As Chris Snider writes in Walking To Destiny, “Everything starts with the customer and getting a clear picture of that customer. In fact, how the business interacts with customers is more important than what it sells.” One of the most effective ways to build value in your business is through strong Customer Capital. Customer Capital is one of the four intangible capitals in every business.
Consider the following when looking at the value of your Customer Capital:
- How strong are your relationships with customers?
- Is your business integral to your customers’ success because the products/services you offer are unique?
- Are these relationships deep, long-term, and contractual?
- Are the relationships delivered in a consistent, reliable, and recurring fashion?
- Most of all, are these relationships transferable?
Follow these three tips to help strengthen your customer relationships and deepen brand loyalty.
1. Know Your Customers and Spark Personal Conversations
Know Your Customers
In order to build a customer base that is loyal to your brand and message, you first have to know and understand your target audience. Research your current client’s demographics as well as their psychographics to get a complete understanding of their needs. The Harvard Business Review writes, “thoughtful use of psychographics will help you develop not only the messages and campaigns but also the products and services that specific customers want and need.”
Knowing your customer is the basis for everything that follows. Without understanding your target audience, you will not be able to reach them in the correct way, meet their needs, or accept feedback effectively.
Spark Personalized Conversations
Highly personalized interactions foster the most engagement between your customers and your brand. For professional advisors who work with business owner clients, Forbes states, “Talking to clients helps them conduct business with you. You have to remember that they partially put the fate of their business in your hands, so you have to make their transition to collaborating with you as easy and relaxed as possible. This is going to lay down the foundation for further smooth collaboration.” The Digital Marketing Institute found, “if you offer your customers tailored deals and discounts, you’re likely to foster brand loyalty which, in turn, will give you the opportunity to get to know them better. 72% of consumers will only interact with personalized offers, deals, discounts or incentives.”
Utilize segmented email campaigns for current customers and prospects to personalize your language for each facet of your target audience. Engaging with customers through social media is one of the best ways to create organic connections. According to Investor’s Business Daily, sharing personal stories “has a greater impact than a financial article as people get to know the real you.” A mix of personal and professional content allows your reach to increase. “Prospects are looking for answers to their financial questions online. Financial advisors can use social media to answer those questions. These prospects are also looking for a connection”, according to FMG Suite.
2. Strengthen Customer Service
Customer service is a key component to every business. Customer Service Representatives are the first, and sometimes only, point of contact between the consumer and the business. The Digital Marketing Institute says, “96% of consumers state that customer service is an integral factor in their loyalty choices towards brands and businesses. Businesses that lead in their customer experience efforts outperform laggards by almost 80%.”
Scott Snider, EPI President, said in Forbes, “Organizations should be continuously engaging their customers. Engage them through things like proactive engagement calls, surveys and understanding their behaviors, needs, desires and pain points. The organization can then develop strategies and innovative solutions to keep their customers entangled and accelerate their customers’ growth.”
At EPI, our Member Experience Representatives guide our Certified Exit Planning Advisors (CEPAs) on their journey in Exit Planning. We begin with pre-CEPA calls to educate CEPA candidates on the program, coursework, and exam preparation.
Utilize Customer Feedback
Our Member Experience Representatives provide assistance to our members with our recently updated Member Center. They also conduct engagement calls with CEPAs to walk through any stress points they may be facing. These touch points provide valuable feedback that helps improve our relationship with members and creates a more engaged member base. Darcy Burner of Buttonsmith Inc., says, “Talk to your customers obsessively. Pay attention to what they’re saying to you in feedback, in customer service interactions and when talking to your sales team. Ask them questions about what they want and why. Iterate quickly to deliver what they need.”
Your customers are one of the most important aspects of your business. Without considering and incorporating customer feedback into your business planning, you are leaving profits on the table. Forbes states, “Analyzing feedback from your clients will help you gain a deeper understanding of what they pay extra attention to and what tiny little details of your service — details that may have slipped your attention — are extra visible to them. Regularly asking for this kind of information helps you learn and understand your clients faster, which will help you deliver the best service possible.”
3. Meet (and Exceed) Customer Needs
As a business owner, meeting customer needs is the bare minimum to be successful. Kenneth Byler of Great Lakes Commercial Roofing, LLC, shared in Forbes, “The biggest mistake I see is organizations thinking they know what the customer wants or needs. The only way to really find out is to put a product or service in the marketplace, get the proper feedback and pivot accordingly.” Listen to your customers to determine their needs, pain points, and desires. Your brand must not only meet that need, but surpass it for you to become synonymous with the solution.
The Digital Marketing Institute says, “consumers are the lifeblood of your business and getting under their skin is the only way to engage, inspire, and connect in a way that is both meaningful and valuable in equal measures.” No matter how great your product or service, without providing a meaningful solution to your customer’s problem, you provide no value to your business.
At EPI, we utilize our customer feedback to gain insights into our CEPAs pain points and then provide additional services to meet those needs. Our CEPA Think Tanks are an additional offering for members who wanted more education and networking with industry experts.
Strong Customer Capital = Strong Business
Building strong Customer Capital in your business improves the bottom line and creates more transferable value in your business. Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan write in Execution, “The basic goal of any strategy is simple enough: to win the customer’s preference and create a sustainable competitive advantage, while leaving sufficient money on the table for shareholders.” Strong Customer Capital builds value for your business now as well as for future owners.
Learn more about Intangible Capitals and how to accelerate business value by attending a Certified Exit Planning Advisor program.LEARN MORE ABOUT CEPA