How often do you talk to your customer? My guess is not enough.

Talking to customers is fundamentally important for brands, yet many don’t give it the time of day. One thing we can all agree on is that it’s cheaper to keep a customer than it is to get a new one, and word of mouth from an existing customer is always a good thing. You need to engage with your existing brand following and keep them on side.

People talk

Consumers talk about brands. We know this, you know this. Social media has been a big facilitator for these kinds of conversations, allowing modern day consumers to express themselves and talk about companies and products that they’ve fallen in love with, or that they can’t believe are quite so terrible.

These customers want to feel like they’re being listened to. And although sometimes you may not want to, particularly if they’re saying less than friendly things about you, you need to use this as an opportunity to start a conversation.

Make a move

It’s important to remember that it’s not just consumers that are capable of starting a conversation – brands and businesses can make a move too. They can do this by asking questions in a forum-type environment, organising competitions and displaying advertisements, all of which get people talking about their business.

A lot of these ways involve sharing your company’s content, and the thing about content is that it is only worth sharing if it’s any good. Great content can start a conversation, bad content gets you nowhere. Or, it starts a conversation about how terrible your content is – which is not what we had in mind. Sharing your content should be a conversation starter, initiating a discussion but allowing for consumers to trail off with their own trains of thought, allowing new topics to form organically.

Three simple steps

There are three steps you should take to start this conversation process for your business.

These are:

    1. Observe
    2. Facilitate
    3. Join

 

Observing allows you to better understand your customer. Better understanding your customer means you can work out what it is they want, need, desire, love, and also what they’ll hate. You can never know too much about your audience, and it’s important to always be willing to adapt your strategy if it no longer best represents your target consumers. You need to know who you’re talking to.

Facilitating conversations is about making it easy for people to talk to you and talk about you. This could be something as simple as making sure you have the relevant social channels set up so that people can interact with you, whilst making it easy for people to talk about you could mean having content or products that are conversation worthy.

Make sure that you show off your social media profiles in as many places as possible, using buttons on your website, in your email signature, in your brochures, posters etc. Then you have to make sure that they look great, and are up-to-date. Great design helps to make content more shareable.

Joining the conversation is the last step. Although it is great to listen to your customer you do have to respond to them at some point – ignored consumers are not happy consumers. Talking to people in a normal way is of the utmost importance, as no one wants to feel like they’re being talked down to by a big, impersonal company who has no idea about its customers and their lives. You dont want to sound distant and overly official – be a real person.

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