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How to ensure your customers are loyal to your brand and love what you do?
Customers can sometimes feel a kind of a strong, almost personal connection with businesses. Those are the best customers for any company. Just think of the people waiting for days in queues to get a new iPhone or new Yeezy shoes.
But it’s not all easy and great. People don’t go lining in front of your stores just like that. This is not only an effect of great an extensive marketing and branding. It’s also all about avoiding the things your customers hate about your business and implementing good practices instead.
In this article, I will talk about the things customers hate when it comes to businesses and how to prevent your company from losing its audience.
1. You don’t engage your customers
People don’t like being treated like walking wallets waiting for you to grab the money. They like being treated like people. That means they want you to talk to them in a respectful manner. Here’s a couple of areas that you may need to improve.
You don’t engage your customers on social media
Social media is a powerful tool for reaching customers and prospects as well as a great place to build your brand identity.
Most of all, however, social media gives you the opportunity to directly engage your audience. Replying to comments and messages can solve a lot of issues your followers may have. Commenting on negative reviews asking what you did wrong and how can you be better can go a long way. So is being able to say “I’m sorry”.
However, if you don’t do any of it, you might lose your trustworthiness and appear as a business that’s not transparent.
You don’t reply to customer emails
Same story as with social media – contacting your customers directly and resolving any issues they may have will make them trust you more.
You don’t want to make your customers feel neglected. Make it your habit to check your inbox at least every two days and reply to the messages.
Your messages are not personalized
Even if you are a small business, keeping track of your customers’ details may be a daunting task. Yet, it is absolutely crucial for ensuring that you cater to the individual needs of everyone.
Luckily, there are dedicated CRM and marketing automation systems that collect the data and segment your mailing lists accordingly allowing you for a high degree of personalization of each message. Let’s suppose a birthday of a certain customer is closing up. Your system will recognize it and put this person on a mailing list that is scheduled to receive a message entitled “Treat yourself this birthday with our exclusive deals!”. What is more, including things like customer’s first name can really go a long way when it comes to establishing a genuine relationship.
Personalization doesn’t end with emails. It needs to include social media as well. Treat each comment you’re replying to as a separate task. Never copy/paste a response – people are going to notice. And contrary to mailing lists, your social media wrongdoings will be visible to everyone.
You don’t solve their problems
As a business owner, you need to own your mistakes. If you receive a negative review, the worst thing to do is to try to cover it up. If a comment expresses dissatisfaction with your products or services – reply. Ask what’s wrong, how can you reimburse the customer and what can you do to improve. Receiving praise is nice and all, but ignoring criticisms will only make you lose customer’s trust!
One more important thing: don’t be afraid to say “I’m sorry”. It’s a simple gesture, but it’s the best way to start rebuilding a relationship with a dissatisfied customer.
2. You do politics
Keep in mind one of the most important rules of social media – they serve business purposes! If you have an opinion on some political subject or other rather touchy and divisive matter – keep it to yourself! By all means, do talk about it with your friends or family, but keep it away from your customers.
Sharing your political opinions or releasing a product that visibly supports a certain side will do more harm than good. Recently, I’ve noticed several cases of companies attempting to cater to certain worldviews. The comment sections on their social networks turned into a massive war.
Seems like a great way to get some attention, huh? Not really… Political subjects are really sensitive and can cost you a lot of customers. Keep in mind that a dissatisfied customer is a customer that will never come back. Yes, true, for every person dismissing you there might be another supporting you. But making a political statement means that you pick a side. Assuming a typical left-right distribution, you’re left with about 50% of the audience you could have should you not pursue politics.
Word of mouth is another thing you need to take into account before posting some political content. People will talk. A nice chat with a group of friends can turn fierce once someone mentions your recent political decision – that’s several potential customers lost! Media can easily pick up the topic and turn it into a huge, scandalous thing, giving you a lot of bad PR.
To sum it up: businesses have no business with politics!
3. You are in your customers’ inboxes and news feeds, like, all the time…
So, someone liked your business’s Facebook profile. Wow! And then another person signed up to your mailing list! Time to pop that champagne open! But first – it’s time to schedule three emails to be sent daily to that person!
Wait, what? No!!!
There are few things worse than opening your email and seeing a huge batch of fresh emails with the latest offers and blog posts sent by that one company you might eventually buy from. When was the last time you checked your account? Yesterday?
Well, that company may have a lot of things to share, but you probably won’t be buying anything from them, since they kind of start to annoy you by putting a ton of spam in your inbox.
Well, maybe their Facebook page will offer something of substance… Oh, my… two posts every hour. Do you really want that on your news feed?
Being in your followers’ and subscribers’ feeds and inboxes too often will make them annoyed and disinterested. This is one of the things your customers hate about your business the most.
You, on the other hand, will be seen as desperate. That’s a sure way to lose your audience!
4. You are not targeting your leads effectively
Each of your customers has different needs and expectations, which constantly change. Collecting data on their online behavior is crucial to know what they are looking for.
There’s nothing worse than receiving messages from a business you’ve subscribed to that suggest you products you don’t need.
Another example – you’re planning to buy a flatscreen TV. You subscribed to two mailing lists from two similar companies. The first company, let’s call it X, starts sending you really useful comparisons of various models and brands. The other one, let’s say – Y, is sending you discount codes, really pushing you to buy. But you are not ready yet – you’re still considering.
The company X recognized where in their sales funnel you are and was able to target you with content relevant to what you need at the moment. Y did not – they didn’t collect the data on you and assumed that you are ready to buy. Even though the content Y sends is valuable, it is not relevant for you – you simply see it as spam!
In the long run, you will be much more likely to stick to X and ultimately buy your TV from them.
The lesson to be taken is that by failing to target your leads with content relevant to their needs, you risk being seen as pushy. And believe me, such attitude is one of the things your customers hate about your business the most! That will eventually lead to losing their subscription and hence, losing a potential customer! Having a functional sales funnel is key to being able to recognize the needs of your leads.
5. Your target audience and customer profile are not laser-precise
When thinking of your target audience, you can’t get away with a simple “oh, my business targets young people” or “yea, we are targeting men”.
Details matter to the point it might seem ridiculous or even creepy.
A good customer profile would look like this:
We are targeting men aged between 23 and 26 living around Manchester with an average income of 25,000 pounds per annum, living in a rental, non-shared flat, commuting by bikes or cars. Their hobbies include tech, entrepreneurship, and the startup scene. They have an undergraduate degree in Business/Marketing/Management and moved to the city for work purposes. They work in the industry and are looking to gain experience and gather a budget to launch their own business in 3-4 years. They use social media to find new businesses.
I could delve much deeper defining their spending habits, style of clothing they prefer, etc.
This is the level of detail you need to implement to really be able to relate to your customers.
Why is it so important?
It allows you to tailor your communication channels. Different language styles are appropriate for different audiences. If you target people as in the example above, informal phrases would be fine. If you are focused on entertainment, slang and memes would do great! But if you are catering to an audience of seasoned professionals in the field, you need to apply a really strict filter on what you say.
If you fail to adapt your communication style to your target audience, you risk losing them. They may simply think that you are not a business for them and that you target a different group.
6. You live on a desert island
This is something, I already mentioned in this article, but it needs to be addressed in more detail as it is one of the major things your customers hate about your business.
It’s the fact that you are not there!
How can you solve it?
To put it simply:
Fill. Out. Your. Contact. Section.
We live in the age of information. Everything is already there on the Internet, available with a click.
So, if you don’t give people opportunities to contact you via email, telephone or social media channels, they simply won’t. They might go the extra mile if they are really desperate for your products or services, but hey, usually it’s you who’s on the losing side.
Your customers shouldn’t be forced to guess what your email might be or look for it on some sketchy pages. This should be readily available and it’s in your best interest to provide it – otherwise, your customers might start thinking of you as an incompetent businessman.
7. Your website is badly designed
You may be angry and all about the ‘instant gratification’ attitude of people on the Internet. But make sure that you don’t reflect that attitude with your business.
A website is your online blueprint, your sort of online business card. One of the things your customers hate about your business is a website that is not functional.
Cut your loading times
It takes seconds to look something up on Google.
It takes a little more than that to go on Netflix and start streaming a movie you want to watch.
Why should it take more for people to wait for your website to load?
People who visit your website will have certain expectations towards it. Loading time is one of them. If it takes more than 3 seconds for a website to load, a visitor is likely to become impatient and click the “close tab” button. According to data collected by Kissmetrics, a 4-second loading time results in a 25% abandonment rate.
Although it may seem unfair, people will be quicker to blame you for creating a slow website than their Internet connections for lagging.
So, why is this important that you have a quick website? First of all, if people exit your website before it even loads, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll ever visit again. If they do stay, they may question your credibility and be less inclined to do any business with you. Either way, long loading times are a sure way to lose leads, prospects and customers!
Your website doesn’t have a mobile version
Everyone has a smartphone nowadays. We spend more and more time browsing on mobile devices – actually, in 2016, 51,3% of all online visits were done on mobile.
Yet still, there are so many websites that don’t have a mobile version.
Nobody likes having to zoom in and scroll across the page trying to read microscopic words. Browsing a website optimized for PC use on your mobile phone is a pain for your visitors – and instant bad rep for you!
Your website is confusing
Your “About” section hasn’t been updated since 2011.
Your “Contact us” page only contains a contact form.
You put black font over red background.
No one will bother to try to decipher your website – they’ll simply go to another business.
Try to get a couple of friends and get their feedback on the functionality of your website. It’s the easiest way to identify areas to improve.
Your customers are not stupid. They can think for themselves and make conscious decisions. They are able to see through you and call bullsh*t on what you do.
In this article, I listed out things that your customers hate about your business. These are the things that will make them leave you and go to someone else.
However, you can fix it. It’s actually not that hard, it only requires you to shift your attitude. You should be there for your customers more than they should be for you.
You should recognize their needs and target them.
Engage your customers.
Be specific and genuine about it.