The Importance of Finding Time to Connect With Your Customers

The Importance of Finding Time to Connect With Your Customers

July 20th is Get to Know Your Customers Day! Every quarter, Get to Know Your Customers Day presents the opportunity to refocus on our incredibly important stakeholders: customers. The holiday highlights the importance of relationships in customer service and reminds us to listen to, and thoughtfully interact with, our customers. Get to Know Your Customers Day recalibrates our focus from data about the customer to knowledge from the customer. 

Managers can easily get caught up in information like market data but fail to recognize opportunities in the market such as unforeseen customer needs; empathizing with our customers helps us bridge this gap between service level communication/information and opportunity. However, one of the biggest challenges in adopting a strong customer focus and staying committed to a customer experience vision is time. Don't worry, we have solutions! But first, let's talk benefits.

Benefits of getting to know your customers

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Leveraging our relationships with customers not only grants us a better perspective and unique insights, it also leads to dramatic business growth. According to Forbes, businesses that adopt a customer experience mindset drive revenue 4% to 8% higher than their competitors. Similarly, by increasing customer retention rates by just 5%, businesses can increase profits from between 25% and 95%! Getting to know customers will always be a worthy use of our time as we have witnessed successful brands rise due to their intense focus on consumers. For example, Samuel Palmisano, former CEO of IBM, took the company to unprecedented heights as business unit leader of Global Services by spending 70% of his time with customers.

How You Can Actively Learn More About Your Customers

  • Interact regularly. This might seem obvious, but when things get hectic, communication with customers can slip and our business can suffer. Whether it's in-person interaction, phone calls, or online via social media or video calls, continuously engaging with customers keeps their experience at the top of our minds.
  • Identify a few metrics that measure customer experience and indicate sales performance. Then keep these metrics in mind when communicating with customers to discover how you can influence better results including new market or product opportunities.
  • Ask customers for feedback and honor their opinions. Send out surveys and feedback forms or engage with customers on online forums or blogs to follow up with customers after a purchase or experience.
  • Respond to reviews to build trust. Thanking customers for glowing reviews is just as important as replying to negative ones with empathy and solutions to issues.
  • Reach out and connect with customers on social media. Get to Know Your Customers Day is a great opportunity to engage with followers and learn more about your audience. Similarly, utilizing influencer marketing, user-generated content, and social listening can bring your brand closer to customers and build more personal and relevant relationships.
  • If you have the resources, host networking events or attend conferences related to your industry. These events give your team opportunities to discuss your business with current and potential customers. Networking at conferences also allows you to build connections and gain customer care knowledge from other organizations in your community or industry.
  • Tailor your communication. Segment your customers in ways that make communicating with each segment different and more personalized so that you can create the best experience for each customer.

Finding The Time

How much time you should dedicate to your customers entirely depends on your business and its strategy. Many of us see making time for customers as a daunting task as we don't seem to have enough time in the day to accomplish our essential tasks. Here's where Julian Birkshaw and Jordan Cohen's insights on the subject shine. The authors suggest making time for the work that matters most by dropping, delegating, or redesigning our tasks that hold lower value.

By dropping or stopping tasks (that won't cause negative consequences when eliminated), delegating tasks to others without overwhelming our peers, and redesigning work that needs an overhaul, we can make more time for our customers while eliminating tasks that take up too much of our time.

Along with this method, dedicating a certain amount of time each day to bettering our relationships with customers can maximize our potential. GettaMeeting's Enhanced Focus module delves into the habit of dedicating ten minutes of focus each day to accomplish projects, pursue dreams, reconnect, become experts, or improve the customer experience. Ten minutes is not the limit, however. The comprehensive modules describe how you can increase the time you spend to obtain even bigger results. The Enhanced Focus module helps teams and leaders start the process with tips on how to succeed using best practices. Once you've eliminated some low-value tasks, even if they free up ten minutes in your day, you can follow certain steps for higher productivity, more joy in completing tasks, personal and professional development, and much more.

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Shifting our focus to the customer experience can be difficult when we have optimized our current processes. Here's how we can integrate customer care into our work habits:

Speak it into existence. Because "employees tend to attach the same level of importance to concepts as their leaders do," incorporating customer care into daily conversations helps employees and peers base conversation, consideration, and decisions around what is best for customers. Consider weaving the needs of customers into meetings, discussions, and goal creation and problem-solving sessions.

Gather information, and provide insight. Building relationships with customers helps us understand their needs and experiences with our brand - they cannot and should not provide us with solutions. We should be utilizing what we learn from customers to better inform our decisions rather than rely on the customer to problem-solve for us.

Avoid silos by adopting a cohesive mindset. From board members to managers and beyond, everyone must have the same idea of the customer experience and what quality customer care looks like. With these clearly defined, leaders and employees can apply information and data that positively influence customer-focused KPIs and customer needs. Every department and employee should have the same customer experience objectives to avoid "silos" where everyone works toward disjointed goals with little communication and integration.

Check out our turn-key meeting modules like Enhanced Focus (Power of Ten) here!

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