You've worked hard to build up your customer base. And you know the deal: a satisfied customer costs less to maintain (and upsell) than investing in a new one, so focusing on customer satisfaction should remain a mainstay of your marketing strategy. After all, who doesn’t want loyal customers who will embrace your new products, provide a glowing testimonial or case study, and even better, refer a colleague to your business?
But the road to creating raving customer fans doesn’t just pave itself. It takes work. To help you along, here are a few simple client communication ideas for nurturing those important relationships—and to help you maintain trust, cultivate loyalty and ultimately, turn customers into advocates of your brand.
1. Exclusive Newsletters
Everyone is busy, including your customers. And sometimes, staying in front of them requires more than a scheduled meeting. Publishing a customer-only newsletter on a consistent basis—monthly, quarterly, whatever works for your team—is one of the easiest ways for you to stay connected, showcase your expertise, and build long-term relationships.
With respect to the content, your newsletter should be both informative and entertaining. Consider including relevant and timely industry news and insights or perhaps spotlighting an existing client who is enjoying success. Then add in a few bits from your team that display a little more company personality. A client-only newsletter should be interesting enough to entice them to open the next one!
As a basic rule of thumb, your newsletter content should be 90% educational and only 10% promotional. Shameless self-promotion is absolutely off limits!
Depending on your business, you may also want to segment your customer database to more specifically tailor newsletter content a customer’s buyer persona, job role, or vertical. For example, a lighting manufacturer could create a newsletter for homeowner customers and another that speaks to commercial accounts. Each group would find different types of content engaging, so it's important to create and publish articles that directly appeal to their interests.
2. Customer Surveys
Knowledge is power, and customer surveys are a great way to obtain feedback and insight you might not otherwise get from calls and face-to-face interactions. To ensure you receive the honesty you're looking for, it's a good idea for the survey results to be anonymous. No matter if the feedback is positive, negative or mixed, having your finger (accurately!) on the pulse is critical to your customer success program.
If you haven't tried this tactic before, consider creating a Net Promoter Score survey that you launch at regular intervals—for instance, once per quarter. An NPS survey will help you gauge the overall satisfaction and loyalty of your customers, as well as identify your best advocates—and the process tends to be a quick and painless for customers to follow.
You can also poll your clients about the types of content they would like to see in your newsletters, as well as how often they would like to receive communications from your business. Many successful service-oriented businesses send surveys after completion of a ticket or customer service interaction. It’s all about gaining insight into the customer experience. Of course, there are lots of fantastic tools you can leverage to launch surveys... one of our favorites is Survey Monkey, which offers both a free and paid version.
3. Social Media
Used correctly, social media can be a great way to engage and learn more about your customers. First and foremost, whenever one of your customers interacts with your company online, they must be acknowledged. Don't ever let a client comment—even if it's a nice one—go unrecognized! A simple thank you (or even a well-placed emoticon) can go a long way!
But there's more to social media than monitoring responses to your own content. If you're equipped with a social listening tool, it’s super easy to see what your customers are talking about on their channels. Not only does social listening enable you to monitor the networks your business uses for customer feedback and direct mentions, allowing you to quickly handle both positive and potentially harmful comments, but it also gives you the opportunity to track keywords that are popping up in their conversations. This helps facilitate a customer-centric mindset rather than making assumptions about what your customers “want”.
HubSpot has a terrific social publishing and monitoring platform that allows you to create and post social media, as well as create custom monitored streams to receive notifications when your company, services, top executives etc. are mentioned on a social media channel. But if you want to start out with something very basic, setting up a Twitter List of your clients and manually keeping tabs on what they're tweeting about can be a good first step.
4. Customer-Only Webinars
Attend an important industry event or conference and you'd like to disseminate information to your clients? Have a cool product launch or new feature you'd like to demo for them? Inviting a speaker or series of industry experts for a round-table discussion? An exclusive webinar is the way to go! The effort you put into creating special content that only your customers can access helps make those relationships sticky. It's just another benefit to doing business with you, as opposed to one of your competitors.
The trick to promoting these webinars and getting clients on board is to partner with other areas of your organization. It can't just be Marketing holding up the megaphone. Sure, some emails for "signing up" should be sent out to get the webinar content on your clients' radar, but account managers, sales reps and service team members should also be informing them about these virtual events and encouraging them to participate.
What your marketing team can do to better enable the other departments is to promote the event internally first. Moreover, Marketing can write out blurbs about the webinar that in-house team members can customize for their clients if they see fit. And finally, creating a Call-to-Action that can be temporarily embedded in every company members' email signature will also help spread the word!
Keep in mind that transforming your customers into super fans does take some work. If it was easy, everyone would do it. However, the payoff is worth it. If you have any other ideas, please feel free to share them in the comments below.
Looking for more inspiration for your customer success strategy? Check out these 3 companies who are nailing it! Or you can visit our ungated resource: The Ultimate Guide to Harnessing the Power of Customer Success.