My first day in Marketing 101, my college professor told us that she didn’t care if we ended up forgetting most of her lectures by the end of the semester. Actually, that’s what she’d expect. So she told us to just relax and no pressure.
There was a catch, though.
Out of all the marketing jargons she’d mentioned during her lectures, she wanted us to specifically remember these two terms; target audience and value proposition. That’s it. Understand them thoroughly and she guaranteed we’d pass her class with flying colors.
Now those two terms seem pretty self-explanatory, don’t they? Target audience refers to the people whom you want to purchase and use your products. And value proposition is why these people should purchase and use your products. What kind of innovations and benefits only you can offer.
But creating value isn’t always about how you make your customers’ lives easier with your innovative features. The value proposition can be, actually should be, the kind of feeling you’ll be able to ignite from your customers when they use your product. It’s all about the experience.
Consider it like this. Value is what you get when you buy an iPhone. You don’t buy an iPhone simply because you want to talk to Siri. Neither because you want to leave your fingerprints in Apple’s database. Nope. As much as we hate to admit it, some of us get ourselves an iPhone because it’s capable of giving us that sense of exclusivity. Like we belong to where the other half lives.
Now that’s a buying experience. And that’s what value is all about. Make your target audience feel special. Like they’re the one and only.
Here’s the problem. Not every brand has it easy the way Apple does. And certainly not every brand can get their customers to buy just whatever they offer the way Apple can. Well, the good news is you don’t have to be like Apple to attain that kind of customer loyalty. Yes, it’s possible to make your customers feel special through a quality customer service. Here’s how.
Use your customer's data to get close. But not too close
No, I’m not talking about sending your customers endless streams of emails, asking how they or their aunt have been doing. I’m talking about how to respectfully use your customer information and use it to engage with them. If I had to pick out my utmost favorite feature from Facebook, I’d go for their birthday notifications. You have no idea how many times Facebook has saved my friendships because remembering birthdays is just not my forte.
Just like Facebook, you can also use your customer data to your own advantage, and it is not limited to birthday only. Keeping track of product purchase date can turn out really useful. If you run a florist, you can remind the gentleman that he’d ordered a bouquet of red roses on August 13th last year and whether or not he might want another one this time. Or, if your company produces items that cannot be associated with any celebrations, this trick can still work. For example, if you’re an air-conditioning brand, your email can remind your customers that it was about time they cleaned the filters.
Don't just hear your customers. Listen instead
This might come across as simple to you, but people often get mixed up between hearing and actually listening. Hearing is something we do unintentionally, while listening requires focus and attention. Listening to your customers would help you amp up your game, especially when you’re dealing with customer complaints. This is when you should show that you listen to them by giving immediate response. Nearly 70 percent of customers bailed on a brand because of poor service, which is why time is of the essence.
The way you define response is not just about replying with a templated answer telling your customers to calm down and wait while you ‘take care of their issue’. Talk is cheap. You have to actually deliver. Make sure you do take care of your customer’s issue and send them an email to let them know what you’ve done and ask them how it has helped them. Time is of the essence here. So don’t wait until they send a second email asking where you are with your solutions.
Talk like a real person that you are
There’s a fine line between intending to come across as professional and ended up sounding like a robot. Avoid anything that might seem too corporate. When talking to your customers, your tone and words of choice should convince that you’re a real person. Start with introducing your name, then ask for their name and address it in friendly tone. Addressing people by name indeed make them feel important. But careful not to overuse it that it’d seem as if you’re taking the name for granted.
Real people also don’t use jargons in their conversation. Yes, it’s tempting to show that your company is professional and that you know what you’re talking about, But it’d be a waste of time because your customers don’t know what you’re talking about. Not when you’re explaining in vocabularies they aren’t familiar to start with. In the end, you wouldn’t be able to connect with your customers, and would end up earning yourself an earful. Courtesy of your customer’s frustration.
The bottom line
Creating value for your customers isn’t only about how you stand out amongst your competitors in terms of product innovations. It’s more than that. It’s about the whole experience and how relatable you are. And it’s about the way you make your customers feel when you pay attention to the little things that matter the most to them. Little things they might be. But isn’t it usually the little things that make us fall in love?