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Checking In With Your Customers

Having a constant pulse on what your customers are thinking is one way to drive competitive advantage for your business. Always-on Internet connectivity has become a huge advantage for companies attempting to connect seamlessly with customers anywhere in the world. There are simply so many tools for connecting and interacting with your customers, especially now that people take their mobile phones with them literally everywhere.

But there’s a downside to all that connectivity — your customers are probably already drowning in the information overload. They may not be as responsive as back in the day, when they’d gladly pick up the phone to chat. They may notice your latest Facebook status update or your new email newsletter, but simply be overwhelmed with other messages, status updates, tweets, and texts.

Given that reality, the easiest, most effective and cheapest way to check in with your customers is via email. This might explain why customers are deluged with emails on a weekly and even daily basis — everyone else has the same idea. To cut through all that clutter, you need to make it worth their time to read your emails before anyone else’s.

To do that, be sure to state your intent at the outset of the email. Then, use a human, personalized voice, so that they know they are not dealing with a soulless brand. Finally, give them an incentive to respond, such as better service, a chance to try out a new feature, or even a prize as part of some contest.

After email, the next most valuable tool for connecting with customers is social media. As might be expected, Facebook and Twitter lead the way in terms of checking in with customers. The problem is that too many brands view these as broadcast mechanisms rather than check-in mechanisms. Replying to a comment on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter can go a long way. Look for ways to use social media to foster personal connections. After all, they don’t call it “social” media for nothing!

And, if you thought regular mail was a thing of the past, think again. A personalized piece of mail can go a long way in getting your customers’ attention. Of course, you’ll want to avoid bland, impersonalized form letters. But think about ways to show how committed you are to them and how important you view your relationship with them.

Finally, what about meeting your customers face-to-face every now and then? If you’re not already meeting them at conferences or trade shows, organize regular meetings with your best customers. This will help you understand your brand ambassadors, the people willing to take your business to the next level.

It’s always worth hearing what they have to say directly. If they really care about your business, they’ll be up front and honest with you. And there’s an added advantage here as well. Your customers will see that there’s an actual person behind the business, and will enjoy meeting more of your team and understanding the story behind your business.

Getting to know your customers is a win-win for both you and your customers. You’ll learn more about what makes them tick, and they’ll learn and understand your company’s mission.

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