Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Boy pursues girl and does everything he can think of to get her attention. Eventually boy and girl start dating. Somewhere along the line they fall in love. Boy proposes to girl, girl says, “Yes.” Boy marries girl, and they live happily ever after. End of story.
Too often in our culture we view marriage as the culmination of a relationship, as if that moment in time is the desired goal.
We have it all wrong. Sure, that is a high point, but the purpose of all that, and the marriage, is to spend the rest of your life with the other person and build a relationship. Marriage isn’t the culmination, it’s the beginning.
This is the same sort of mindset that dominates the world of business and commerce. We go out seeking customers and do everything we can to attract them and turn them prospective customers to paying customers. Once we “get them” we feel we’ve completed our job, and we move on to the next conquest.
But why are we so fast to move on? Once we get married, we don’t dump our spouse right away. Why would we move on from our new customer right away. Just because they did what we wanted them to do, we shouldn’t move on. We need to continue to build and cultivate that relationship.
One of the most important, yet most neglected, parts of the business and sales cycle is what happens AFTER the sale. Do you treat your customers as one-night stands, or as full partners with whom you’ve pledged “for better or for worse, ’til death do us part”? Granted, that’s a bit of a stretch, but what if we approached our customer service from that mindset?
We obsess over the sale; over closing the deal. What if once we sealed the deal, we spent as much energy on maintaining and building that relationship, as if perhaps they would be customers for life? After all, if word of mouth is our most powerful marketing tool, doesn’t it make sense to continue wooing and courting our customers even after they’ve signed on the dotted line and given us their cash?
Certainly we need to maintain contact with our customers and Social Media can be an important part of how we do that. Here are a few simple ideas of how you can use your online social platforms to keep your customers interested, even after the sale:
1. Customer aftercare – Need content for blog posts or Facebook? Why not discuss what your customers should do once they have purchased your products. Did they purchase carpet? Post content about how to care for the carpet, or how to take care of stains and regular wear and tear. Did they undergo a medical procedure? Blog about how to take care of their wound, or what they can and cannot eat during the recovery period. No matter what business you’re in, I bet there’s some sort of information you can provide that helps your customers along the way.
2. Solicit feedback – Most customer service is contingent upon a customer having a problem, and then contacting the business about the problem. Use your Facebook and Twitter accounts to actively solicit questions from existing customers. Let them know that you are there for them whether they have a problem or some other type of question. Don’t wait for them to contact you. Reach out and ask them how it’s going. Odds are that the large majority of them are happy. Use Social Media to reach out and request they review you and your business on any number of social networks.
3. Don’t just promote events, fill us in afterwards – We spend a lot of time promoting events in order to get people to attend them, whether they are concerts, sales, or any other sort of event. Once the event is over, report back to us. Let us know how it went. If it was a concert, publish the set-list. If it was a fundraiser, how much was raised? Thank the people who came. And of course, you even have the option of posting…
4. Photos and Videos – People are vain. They love seeing pictures of themselves online. They’ll even tag themselves in the photos or videos and then they’ll tell their friends, “Hey, did you see the pictures of me on Facebook?”. If you look at your Facebook insights, there’s a good chance you’ll notice an increase in activity and engagement on the days you post media like photos or video. If you post those kind of shareable “objects” more often, you’ll see the benefit. And if people tag themselves in YOUR content, it will live on as part of their timeline…and so will your business. Better yet, invite them to post their own photos and videos on your site, and promote creativity.
5. Have them submit content to your blog – As you engage with your customers both on and offline you might find that some of them have interesting stories. Invite them to write guest posts on your blog, or at least be interviewed (perhaps on video). For some business categories, perhaps you could feature before and after photos with how your product or service has changed their lives.
Certainly these are all in addition to the regular, quality customer care you are hopefully already providing. Don’t use Social Media as a replacement for good face to face customer experience, but as an enhancement of that.
What are some other ideas you might have to using the social web to engage your customers once you’ve made the sale?