The Internet has made it simultaneously much easier and much harder to check in with your customers. The logistical side of checking in is miles easier than it’s ever been — you’ve got loads of options, and you can instantly connect with people pretty much anywhere in the world.
But the flipside of this is of course the huge demands that this interconnectivity makes on your customers, which makes tuning you out entirely the easiest option for them even when you’re trying to help. This means you’ve got to get a little creative, both in your medium and in your delivery. Try using:
Email still works as a medium for checking in, but only if you make it worth your customers’ while. Ideally you’d have a good relationship built up with your customers via nurturing emails before you check in, but even if you haven’t, a carefully worded email can still work.
The key is to let people know right from the beginning why responding to you is going to help them out, to use a very human, personal tone of voice, and to actually give them a good reason to respond, whether that’s the promise of better service on your end, giving them the chance to have a say in what new features you’re going to implement, or offering a prize like the chance to win one of your products for free.
Social media is an incredibly useful tool for checking in with your customers, but so few businesses actually use it! Considering Twitter alone, 54% of the top 100 global brands send less than one @ reply tweet a day, meaning they directly engage with their followers less than once per day! So don’t just use your social media channels to make announcements and promote your business — use it to make personal connections with your customers, respond instantly to any complaints or sticking points, and check in with them in a medium that’s convenient for both of you.
This absolutely doesn’t mean using mass form letters — instead, try sending nicely branded, personalised mail if you really want to get your customers’ attention. Doing this shows a high level of commitment to your relationship with them, which lays some great groundwork for checking in. Since it is such a powerful medium if you use it correctly, save it for really important things and special occasions to keep the impact high.
OK, so you probably won’t be able to meet all of your customers personally, especially if you run a business that serves people in multiple countries. But it’s worth making the effort to check in with those near you, your top customers, and your biggest fans, because they’ll give you the best information return on the investment of time you make to meet with them. Not to mention that putting a human face on your business is hugely helpful for building your relationship with your customers — so use social media to find customers near you to connect with, check to see if any of your customers are attending networking events you’ll be at, or see if you can get together at conferences.
Your turn: what are your favourite ways to check in with your customers? Tell us in the comments below!