If boosting customer loyalty is among your business goals in 2021, mark your calendar now for Get to Know Your Customers Day—a quarterly event observed on the third Thursdays of January, April, July and October. This year’s next Get to Know Your Customers Day is July 15. Consider it an opportunity to improve your customer relationships by adding names to faces, and finding out precisely what your customers love about your business and what added services and/or features might make them love it even more.
Getting to know your customers goes beyond just learning their demographics or even their names. It can be more actionable for your business to learn what their pain points are, what problems they are trying to solve, what they expect, and even what their complaints are (both about your business and especially your competitors).
How (and why) did Get to Know Your Customers Day start?
Specific origins of the customer-centric holiday are unknown, but some sources trace it back to the early days of the e-commerce boom when brick-and-mortar establishments needed to find ways to avoid losing business to online retailers. And while the retail- and service-industry landscapes have evolved since then (particularly in the past year), the principles that guided the creation of Get to Know Your Customers Day still apply. Namely, the importance of two-way communication between customers and businesses—according to Microsoft’s 2017 State of Global Customer Service Report, 78% of respondents nationwide look favorably upon businesses that solicit and respond to customer feedback. The tangible outcome? Increased loyalty to your brand, thanks to prioritization of the customer relationship.
Observing Get to Know Your
But how, specifically, do you get to know your customers better (on January 21 and beyond)? Here’s a know-your-customer checklist, with five actions to help establish and nurture positive customer relationships.
1. Ask customers to complete a digital survey/questionnaire. Get to Know Your Customer Day is a great opportunity to ask for that aforementioned feedback. Then, use the information you acquire to better meet their needs. If you already have a database of customer email addresses, you’re one step ahead. You can also post a link to your social media pages or tell them about the survey when they visit your establishment in person. Good probing questions include:
How did you hear about us?
What product or service among our offerings is most important to you?
How often do you shop for our products and/or services?
How satisfied are you with our policies and procedures?
To take this a step further, consider conducting what Franz calls a journey mapping event, in which you gather information from customers about the “journey” that ultimately led to a purchase (she likes to do this in person if possible, but journey mapping can also occur digitally or remotely).
2. Talk to them. Even if you can’t interact with customers face-to-face, conversations are still possible. Customers appreciate responses to social media posts and email messages. And if your business is currently open to the public, take some extra time on January 21 for genuine get-to-know-you conversations (Franz calls this ‘collecting breadcrumbs of data’). Once you know things like where they live, what they do for a living, how many children or pets they have and what they like to do for fun, you can create customer profiles—and these profiles will allow you to provide a more personalized experience to each individual (for example, you’ll know to call them when you receive a shipment of a product they love). If your doors are closed, no worries—social media is a great tool for info gathering too (many customers enjoy responding to inquisitive posts from business owners).
Engaging with customers through conversation is also an effective way to manage problems like late-paying customers. A customer you know well is probably more likely to answer your inquiries about payment-related issues.
3. Host a giveaway. Oftentimes the mere opportunity to receive a gift is enough to draw someone in. Let them know how much you appreciate their loyalty by giving away a coveted product or service, or by offering a swag bag to the first 50 people to enter your establishment, or to anyone who returns the above mentioned survey. If your doors are closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, consider conducting giveaways on social media instead.
4. Hold a customer appreciation event. Invite customers to stop by during designated hours for refreshments, special discounts, prizes and casual conversation (essentially, a party in their honor).You can even set up the event outside if indoor events are prohibited.
5. Thank them. And if live events, giveaways or surveys aren’t doable at the moment? Nothing beats a genuine ‘thank you’ when it comes to opening the lines of communication with a customer. Consider sending a card or email, or even picking up the phone to say “we appreciate your business” and to let them know you welcome feedback and conversation.
Putting your plans to work
The value of knowing your customers and showing you care about them can require some modest investments, to cover events, promotions, of giveaways. If you don’t have the immediate budget for such initiatives, a Fundbox line of credit can give you fast access to the short-term cash you need to make these happen.