Marketing experts have long known that low prices and product quality are just two of many effective tools for building a customer base and adding market share. Some companies with low-priced, high-quality items go broke for lack of marketing savvy. What good is the “perfect product” if no one knows it’s out there? And why do some very pricey items in a niche outsell lower-priced options? It’s all about customer service, taking care of emotional needs and knowing how to cater to the widely diverse attitudes of buyers. According to modern-day marketing gurus, the following five techniques are the most effective ways to gain new customers and to keep current ones coming back for more.
Offer Seasonal Discounts
Consumers expect at least a few discounts, sales and special marketing events per year. Whether these are tied to holidays or not is unimportant. The point is to reward loyal customers with some real bargains at least a couple times per year. Many companies opt to make these affairs “insider only” by mailing or emailing discount vouchers to repeat customers. Other strategies are store-wide sales at regular intervals. Annual sale times that recur on the same dates are a good way to bring in new customers too.
Listen to Customer Survey Results
The most successful retailers spend money on surveys. They typically outsource this chore to a professional surveying firm. The results offer a golden opportunity for management to fine-tune the company’s pricing, product offerings and more. The principle behind the entire concept of asking customer opinions is that it pays to meet customer needs and listen to real-world advice from those who purchase your products.
Aim for 24-Hour Service
The modern world is inching toward becoming a 24-hour society. That’s the reason so many companies are leaving their doors open longer and longer each year. Mom and pop retailers, medium-sized companies and big-box sellers are all in on this strategy. Good examples are fast-food chains that now leave at least one drive-thru window open until the wee hours, Walmart electronics return policy that now extends nearly around the clock, and banks that are open seven days per week. Consumers gravitate to sellers who are open longer.
Attend to All Complaints
Some of the largest companies in the world spend millions each year keeping an eye on customer complaints. Responding quickly and effectively to genuine consumer grievances is one of the wisest ways to avoid long-term erosion of your market share and prevent tiny fires from becoming huge blazes.
Hire Humans to Answer Phones
Consumer surveys repeatedly reveal that one thing people appreciate the most from a corporation is a human being on the other end of the phone. Online chat serves its purpose in terms of marketing but people love to hear a human voice when they take the time to call a company and complain or simply inquire about something. Many companies that had long ago opted out of the “human agent” game are getting back in. That might be why one of the biggest areas of job growth is in the field of “telephone-based customer service.”