Information Age to the Attention Age
You may have heard that we’ve moved from the Information Age into a period defined as the Attention Age. This is the first time in history that we have access to more information than we ever would have the time to consume. Due to this overload, we are now forced to prioritize where our attention is directed.
During an average day we spend a majority of our time in front of our computers or various media devices. Notifications, text messages and email alerts are constantly interrupting our train of thought. Are any of us really focused on any one thing at a time? How many of us scan headlines and skim email subject lines rather than taking dedicated time to read the entire article or email?
The point is this, we’re overwhelmed and we’re starting to realize it. We’re developing new habits to compensate for this and our ability to focus is fast becoming one of our most valuable skills.
5 Ways to Build Lasting Customer Relationships in the Digital Age
1. Focus on quality over speed
Technology has provided us the ability to “write” so fast that authentic handwritten copy is disappearing in the workplace. According to a study commissioned by Docmail Ltd., on average most respondents hadn’t put pen to paper in the previous 41 days. Try handwriting 1-3 messages to your customers per week. These can be “Thank You” notes, “Welcome” messages or simple “It was nice to meet you” messages. Regardless of the occasion, make it a consistent practice. Once you develop the habit, you might actually enjoy it! If you don’t have the time, perhaps you have a VA that could help with this. Or, maybe there’s even a company who specializes in managing this for you! Sorry, couldn’t help it!
2. Face-to-Face Meetings
Once you’ve mastered the handwriting thing, dedicate at least 2 hours a week to face to face meetings with your customers. This could even mean a Skype or Zoom call for virtual clients. People are looking for attentiveness in exchange for loyalty. With 55% of our communication being non-verbal, there is no better way to show your full engagement than an in-person connection.
3. The Sales Experience
Now that you’ve established some on-going basics, let’s look at one of the key touch-points in your customer journey, the sale itself. You likely have a very specific process for finalizing a sale. And chances are that sale looks very similar to the way everyone else in your industry closes the sale. Have you taken the time to think about how you could be differentiating your sales process from everyone else? The goal here is that you want to be sure that this touch-point leaves a lasting impression. No matter what your industry is, there are creative ways to make the sale a lasting memory for your customer.
For example, we recently worked with a prospective client who sells mattresses. Most of the time you leave that type of sale with some paperwork and a delivery date. Their customers left with a sleep-well gift set that included products like a sleep mask, essential oils and other things to provide a calming night’s sleep. Their customers tell everyone about their sales experience!
4. Referral Rewards
Once you’ve delivered a memorable sales experience you’re going to naturally earn some word-of-mouth marketing. You want to have a plan in place to recognize those customers who send you referrals. Now, we’re not talking about “for each customer you earn a point” kind of reward. You want this recognition to be personal. When people feel that level of appreciation, they are more likely to go above and beyond for you. Make sure that this type of recognition comes with a word of thanks from you and a small and meaningful reward. As much as possible, try to keep the reward aligned with the brand. And have fun! Be creative! These are the thoughtful customer experiences that will be remembered.
5. Showcase Your Loyal Customers
Once you’ve implemented all of these relationship building efforts, your customers are going to have so much to rave about. Find a way to showcase these loyal customers. Let them tell the story of why they enjoy working with you or what made them decide to purchase your product or service in the first place and put their testimonial on your website for all to see. This is an opportunity that will make the customer feel special and valued, and it will give you some well-deserved "cred" as well. The afterglow of that type of goodwill can last for weeks or even months. People just want to know that they mean something to you.
At The Expressory, we have built our business model around fulfilling the need to build relationships and ensure that customers know that they mean more to you than just a number to your bottom line.
To learn more about effective relationship marketing strategies, we invite you to click here for easy access to our eBook.
Author, Jamie Shibley
Founder, The Expressory
Creating hand-crafted, handwritten expressions and lasting impressions, The Expressory is snail mail, re-imagined for modern tastes (and ease). It is the only upscale relationship marketing service that helps time-starved, but well-intentioned, business owners create valuable customer relationships by providing the products and services that remove the barriers to maintaining a culture of customer appreciation.
Jamie is also the Managing Director of eWomenNetwork's Milwaukee, Wisconsin chapter