In the current operating environment perceived brand ‘value’ is now one of the key influencers on purchasing behaviour. Customers want and expect to get the most out of their investment. Indeed in today’s market customers have more information, choice, market access and as a result have higher expectations than ever before.
Consequently the ability to satisfy customers and convince them of your brand’s superior value has become a much more significant challenge for many companies. Those that achieve that level of perceived higher brand value through more meaningful, personalized and lasting brand experiences can drive growing sales that are both more profitable and sustainable.
Why Retaining Customers is Key to Profitability & Growth
The majority of marketing budgets are primarily focused on attracting new customers. This could be viewed as a significant error when you consider that it costs 6 times more to sell something to a new prospect than to sell that same thing (product or service) to an existing customer.
For all the new business you have attracted over the last few years how much business have you ‘left on the table’ or lost by not ‘working on’ or enhancing your brand relationships with your existing customers?
Not only do repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers, but referrals amongst repeat customers are statistically 107% greater than non-customers. So, developing superior customer relations not only helps maintain profitability but it also drives growth.
What Went Wrong?
Customers stop doing business with you for any number of reasons. One of the biggest is if they have a complaint that goes unresolved or is badly handled. They can also leave you simply because they feel unappreciated and not valued by your company.
9 Ways to Generate Superior Brand Value and Increased Profits by Nurturing Customer Relations
1. Put Customers At The Heart Of What You Do
Developing superior brand value requires aligning your brand strategy with the needs of your customers. Customer perspectives should inform and shape your brand identity, your customer value proposition and ultimately translate into a compelling and consistent customer experience.
If all departments within the organization understand their role in developing and delivering first class customer relations then developing superior brand value becomes a cohesive organizational goal.
2. Value Your Customers
Customers should also be viewed as strategic assets with the acquisition cost factors fully understood and recognized to achieve equitable customer lifetime valuation. Companies typically invest considerable effort in locating, acquiring and keeping potentially loyal customers so understanding brand loyalty and retention are key to ensuring growth with the right customers.
3. Think of Employees as Brand Value Creating Assets
Customer relations should be nurtured at all touch points, but none has a greater influence on brand value than the face-to-face interactions between employees and customers.
Employees are the face of the brand and need to represent the brand and align themselves with the brand values when they interact with customers. An employee who understands the customers needs and ensures customer satisfaction will both deepen the customer brand relationship but also further generate superior perceived value for the brand.
4. Encourage Customer Feedback
Developing superior customer relations is not all about what you give to your customers. It’s also about allowing your customers to provide feedback and ensuring they feel that their opinions are of value to your company.
Conduct regular surveys and polls with your customers to ensure you understand their current challenges and needs. Customers feel valued by your brand when they think their opinions are appreciated and you get very valuable customer insights.
5. Implement Appropriate Online Brand Social Media Policy
Customer relations are fostered at each touch point both on and offline. Incorporating a corporate social media policy in your company congruent with your brand will provide employees with the guidelines they need to engage appropriately with your customers.
6. Provide Regular Training
Informed employees are effective employees. Your employees are the face of your brand and they must reflect the brand accordingly.
Train your team to understand your brand, the importance of their role and their responsibilities as representatives of the brand. If they believe in the brand then this will translate into their customer interactions. An effective brand must be authentically lived from the inside out to the market place to become a powerful brand.
7. Adapt to Stay Relevant
Adapt and develop your products and services based on customer needs. An offering that is aligned with, and driven by, customer needs is much more sustainable in the long term. If your brand strategy has a flexible, responsive and listening customer focus then implementing new technologies has a higher success rate because it’s finely tuned to meet ongoing and changing customer preferences.
8. Develop A Customer Brand Risk Management Strategy
Every brand needs a brand risk management strategy which also includes clear guidelines for how customer relations should be managed in the event of an untoward issue arising. This should include all interactions on and offline, together with proactive, prompt and high integrity responsiveness from the top, down the chain of command.
9. Reach Out and WOW
The ability of your employees to wow your customers with the level of service they provide can create a compelling level of perceived superior brand value that develops loyal customer brand champions.
Empowering your employees to offer a level of service beyond what would be expected (within brand guidelines) can create a highly targeted branding experience and greatly enhance the customer’s perceived brand value.
Listen, monitor, record and evaluate your customer opinions. Brand value is based on perceptions. In-depth understanding about how your brand is viewed by your customers equips you with the information you need to satisfy and exceed customer expectations.
If you want to develop a profitable business that enjoys sustainable growth then your brand must go beyond simply satisfying minimum basic needs. It must develop more in depth relationships with your target market to create an enhanced level of perceived brand value.
A brand that listens, understands and responds to the needs of their customers creates first class brand value for the customer and thereby increased profitability for the business.
• Is your brand strategy truly customer-focused?
• Does your brand undertake customer feedback exercises?