The relationship between a business and its consumers can be compared to a one with a significant other. When you think of customer relations, think of a business as an individual that is in a romantic relationship with multiple significant others.
The only caveat here is that we need to make them feel like they are the one and only when we do engage with them. If a business ignores the needs of its customers for a quite an extensive periods of time, the customers will get heartbroken, break up with the said business and will move on to someone better.
There are valuable lessons that we could import from out romantic relationships and implement them in business to create meaningful, long lasting relationships that helps drive growth in a meaningful way.
Well, not technically love at first sight, more like love at first swipe. Similar to online dating sites such as Tinder, OkCupid and eHarmony where there are hundreds and thousands matches to be swiped left and right, consumers are presented with hundreds and thousands of ads each day, left and right.
Did you know that it takes about 0.13 seconds for someone to decide whether if you are desired or not? Therein lies our first lesson: The product or service a business must stand out apart from the crowd. That’s where a business must implement marketing and advertising strategies that reach customers fast and at the same time, stand out apart from every other business out there. Branding plays a huge role in this. The product or service offered must be unique in a way that customers can easily distinct the product or service offered from everything else that is out there.
Okay cool! Now you got yourself a date with a customer. Be aware though, herein lies our second lesson: They WILL stalk you online.
Since it’s a digital world we live in, the first thing that people will do when they know someone is either they search for their Facebook Page, Instagram, Twitter or they would just google their name just to see what pops up. Everyone is guilty of doing this. Hence, a business must make sure that it has a really good digital presence so that customers get to see what they are all about. Here at Catalyst Digital, we help SMEs to set up an online presence that will make your acquired customers go “Oh, I so wanna get to know you!”
In relationships, the purpose of the first date is to get to know the other person. So as a business, you just need to do the same thing! If the customers are willing enough to engage with a business, chances are they are familiar enough with the product or service offered. If you go on a date and just talk about how great you are, the chances of you getting a second date drastically drops. That’s what hard selling in marketing is. A good product or service will speak for itself. People are so fed up about with hearing why the product or service is the best out there and the concept of hard selling died before the Marlboro Man did. Let them talk; relate to them; listen to them! Marketing is evolving in a way where engagement is the driving force for acquiring customers opposed to just shoving down products and services down their throat.
If your customers resonate with what you offer and would like to keep seeing you, then awesome! You got yourself into relationship with a customer. They love the value you give to them and in turn, they will reciprocate by giving you value. A tell-tale sign of a customer who is willing to engage with you again and again is that they have some form of long term communication medium with your business whether in form of signing up to your newsletter or a membership plan.
It is customary to give and receive gifts in relationships. So how do you reward customers for staying with you through thick and thin and being loyal to you? You shower them with gifts. Nothing will make you significant other happier than a well thought out gift at the right time. Gifting them for special occasions like Valentine’s day, birthdays and anniversaries is expected and greatly appreciated by your significant other.
One of the interesting customer loyalty programs that comes to mind is the one offered by TribeUp Connect (https://www.tribeupconnect.com/). Their main goal is to help businesses to reward their best customers. One of the coolest thing they do is that they offer businesses to set up signup rewards and birthday rewards for their customers. Their verification method is one of the most unique in business as it uses Facebook as it’s verification system. By doing so, customers will feel appreciated the business took its time to celebrate them during their special day.
A great way to keep your loved ones repeating something you want them to do more is to complement them on it. The cornerstone for this concept was laid out by a psychologist named B.F. Skinner, as he introduced the concept of Operant Conditioning. One of the key concept in behaviorism is the concept of reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is the act of reinforcing a behavior with a stimulus that increases the likeliness of the behavior is repeated in the future.
Point based rewards offered in a loyalty program is set up to achieve the same effect. A customer purchasing a product is the behavior that we want to increase in likelihood of and the stimulus we offer points that later can be redeemed. Speaking about point based programs, VeriCardSys (https://www.vericardsys.com/) offers great card based and mobile based loyalty programs that includes point based rewards that helps you to keep your customers returning. They also help your business to analyze and track your customers’ behavior at the same time.
Yay! You have built a foundation with your customer and you both are willing to continue this relationship further. In a romantic relationship, it is a given fact that there are things you like about you partner, and there are things that makes you want to jump from the top of the Twin Towers. We talk our problems out and find solutions together. At times, we are flawed and we should strive to improve. Customer Service and Feedback acts as a mechanism for businesses to service and solve problems for their customers and at the same time, you can get feedback so you can improve what that is offered.
Imagine a customer service call. Most probably at the other end of the phone, something is not working as it should and they desperately need us to give them a solution. The exact type of calls your significant other makes when they lost their keys or when their car breaks down. We will do our best to fix their issues because we just care about them so much. That’s exactly hows customer service should function: Trying our best as possible to solve arising issues regarding our product or service.
Feedback is more like when your significant other is yelling at you for not putting the toilet seat up. If you want your customers to stay with you in a long-term relationship, well, at the end of the day, the toilet seat needs to stay down.
Although it sounds kind of scary, customer feedback helps us tailor our product to resonate better with the audience, in turn giving the existing customers more value and at the same time, making your product better and attractive in general.
Often considered an important milestone in romantic relationships, the crisis stage is where an individual gets so familiar and used to their significant other, they don’t find them exciting anymore. What drives this phenomenon is a combination of the Coolidge effect and how we evolved as humans. The Coolidge effect states that the brain will release less and less dopamine (the chemical in your brain that is responsible for your drive and happiness) as we stay with the same partner but will spike back up when a new mate comes into the equation. To add to that, evolutionarily, we are programmed to be with as many partners as possible. Our species has survived many bottleneck events that almost wiped us clean from the planet’s surface. At one point, our population decreased to as low as 10 000 people after the Krakatoa Volcano Explosion in the distant past. Hence, we are programmed to find new mates as often as possible and in some ways that flows into how we use products and services.
Customers will eventually get bored of what you offer and you have to keep evolving because there a lot of competitors out there that are working as hard as you to come up with the next best thing! Hence to keep your customers coming to your business, be prepared to excite them as much as possible. One of the ways that businesses do that is by releasing new products or by doing crazy offers that will keep customers on their toes all the time. Ever wondered why cooperate giants tend to roll out as many products as possible? That is the reason why and it works because the relationship between them and their customers seems to never get boring.
Another way to retain as many customers as possible is to make it easier for them to access you. As mentioned before, consumers love it when you make your business available to them as much as possible. For them, it feels like they’re getting some form of special treatment each time they step foot into your doors. Integrating loyalty programs that promotes engagement will help by closing the gap between you and the customer. Malaysia Mobile App 2U (http://www.malaysiamobileapp2u.com) has special Customer Loyalty solutions that integrates GPS “check in” coupon systems, QR code coupon systems and mobile stamp systems to increase the accessibility to your loyalty program so you’ll never lose touch with your customers.
It’s time to tie them up! So what it means for a customer to marry a business? Like a regular marriage, if a customer is married to your business, you become a really big part of their life. They will get mad if your product or service is not available when they are looking for it. It becomes a habit and the decision to go to you is almost automated. Everyone from their friends to their family knows that they use you. From a customer loyalty perspective, getting a customer to get married to you should be your ultimate goal. They buy the most of your stuff and they will tell people why they love you and why everyone should use you.
The relationship between a customer and a business shares similarities with the relationships we have with normal people. It really pays off if a business possesses the morals that are found in normal interactions as it shows your customers that you are not just someone who wants to make money, but as someone who wants to connect with them in a deeper level. So if you are an upcoming business and you want tons of loyal customers under your belt, make sure they swipe right, fall in love with you, meet their wants and need, reward them as much as possible, make them available to you as easy as possible and at the end, make them pop the question as soon as possible to you. With that said, we hope that you find as many meaningful relationships with your customers as possible. Happy flirting!