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Sylvia Pennington
Business Journalist

Sylvia Pennington writes regularly on business and technology for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

Sylvia Pennington
Business Journalist

Sylvia Pennington writes regularly on business and technology for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

Highlights
  • Over the years, getting ranked in search has evolved to sophisticated model that’s near impossible to trick.
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  • Provide results that your customers will love and talk about on social networks and review sites, making it easy for Google to reciprocate with a better rank.

While many businesses look at technology as a way to make them more productive, others see it as an opportunity to delight customers. Adding a little tech to your business could help to satisfy customers and keep them coming back for more.

Getting customers through the door is by no means easy, especially in lacklustre economic times when holding off on spending and making do are mantras for many.

Converting new customers into loyal repeat consumers of your business’ products or services can be even tougher. But information technology can be a powerful and cost effective weapon in your campaign to boost customer retention.

Here are some high-tech tactics and tools to keep them coming back for more.

Man sitting down using tablet

1. Know who your customers are

Want to make sure your products or services are hitting the spot with your regulars? Then it makes sense to clock who they are, what they’re buying, and when.

This could mean it’s time to pension off the old school till and invest in a modern Point Of Sales (POS) system that can capture this information and generate invaluable insight into what makes your customers tick.

Ben Kierath of Hoselink relies on the data analytics provided by their chosen POS and e-commerce platfrom. He uses the data captured with every transaction to manage the company’s growing customer numbers, expanding inventories and new products. “We really want to get better at analysing data and the inbuilt customer-reporting function means we can quickly and easily extract powerful insights that simply would not have been possible a few years back.”

Tip: Depending on your chosen POS and/or e-commerce platform, transaction data can also help you to personalise the customer experience with customised offers or recommendations of related products.

2. Ping your customers

Staying in touch with customers via regular SMS or MMS messages can often be more effective and cheaper than trying to raise them on the phone.

According to Forbes, sixty-two per cent of millennials prefer to communicate via SMS messaging and over-the-top (OTT) messaging (apps and services such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Viber). These channels are therefore an effective medium for promotions, reminder messages and other notifications to ensure your business stays top of mind with regulars.

It works for Snap Fitness Helensvale, which sends motivational messages at random times to boost its bond with participants in its 8 Week Challenge program.

Tip: Follow the guidelines prepared by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to ensure your business adheres to anti-spam best practices.

3. Remind your customers

Ever surfed your way to a company’s website once, only to find banner ads for their business every which way you turn, following you about as you traverse the net?

Welcome to remarketing technology: a powerful way to remind customers of your presence and encourage the indecisive to return to your site and buy.

How does it work? When a user visits your pages, a cookie is placed on their computer, enabling ads for your business to be served up when they browse other sites containing compatible advertising modules. 

This means more eyeball time, more awareness for prospects that have already shown an interest in your offering – and more opportunities to sell.

Tip: Facebook Pixel is one such remarketing system that can be easily installed on your website so that your visitors will see your prepared adverts  next time they’re browsing Facebook. 

4. Reward your customers

Do you offer customers a discount, small gift or occasional freebie for bringing their business to you instead of your competitor down the road? If not, is it time you started?

A well-run loyalty scheme can acknowledge and reward repeat customers and create opportunities for you to increase the size and frequency of their spend.

Forget stamps on a card. The rise of the smartphone and the accompanying mobile technology revolution has seen loyalty programs go high-tech. Businesses can now choose from a slew of apps – such as Stocard, Stamp Me, or Zippy – to help them cosy up to their regulars and remind them how much their business is valued.

Tip: If you make your loyalty program interesting, people are more likely to take notice and share with their friends.

5. Respond to your customers

Compliments, complaints, questions… How quickly and well do you respond when customers get in touch? 

A customer relationship management system can help you to track transactions more easily by functioning as a command centre for all queries, regardless of the medium through which they’ve come.

Failing to respond quickly enough may lose you a customer. A fast response is a good response. Integrating all of your channels of communication can improve your ability to offer a response – and up the odds of customers viewing their interaction with you as a positive one.

It can be particularly damaging to your business if you’re unable to respond fast on social media, with the potential for others to see and react to a complaint before you have a chance to resolve it. That’s why it’s important for you to be the first to respond (politely and with understanding, of course), before the complaint escalates or creates the wrong impression about your business.

Tip: Always try to respond to customer’s compliments, complaints, and questions within an hour. Set up an internal system and create a social response strategy.

*Originally published. September 17th 2015. Updated February 2nd 2018.

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