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[Friday Learning] Manage, Engage & Leverage Customers

Sanjay Mehta
30th Aug 2013
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Every customer is precious. Customer expectations management is not an easy task. Many of the early stage companies would have realized this challenge as they try to scale. This article helps entrepreneurs to understand how to manage, engage & leverage with customers to their advantage for Word of Mouth Marketing.


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Every start-up would like their customers to proudly say that this is the best vendor in the world!This article is about benefits of good customer relationship & experience. Each day as the start-up grows they make reserves in the memory banks of their customer with delightful customer engagement & service. Good customer engagement skills will help to develop a great relationship between with your customer. Satisfied customer experience is important in order to grow the acquired customer base into confident brand advocates.

Loyal customers are the unpaid sales team which advocates your brand to prospects.

Early stage customer facing team needs a certain amount of discretion, empowerment to engage with enthusiastic customer. Start-ups need to engage different customers with different levels of importance, expression of respect, and treatment.

There is no one standard defined engagement process for all types of customers at evolution stage.

All entrepreneurs must remember that your customers are not going to remain loyal for lifetime just because they are happy currently with your engagement.

Moral values, understanding of customer’s psychology is not obvious to young start-up entrepreneurs.

Hence taking customer for granted is the biggest mistake one can make. When the start-up is young with limited customers is the best time to learn customer’s pain & pleasure points. Try to build as many happy experience stories in these periods with right set of market influencers. It lays foundation for the next level of scalable growth with word of mouth marketing. It’s the most effective method of promotion at no cost. When there is an unpaid form of endorsement from a satisfied customer in public. It speaks volumes about the start-ups customer centricity.

Digital generation of customer is sceptic in nature. Its trust in promoted paid advertisement claims is negligible.

Primary aim of the young customer is to quickly become independent, remain independent of any vendor or service provider loyalty. On the other hand all vendors are trying lock down customers with loyalty programs to get more share of the customer wallet. We have seen large companies accepting their mistakes gracefully & try compensating with product recalls, replacements or refunds. It gives a positive long term trust image. We have seen business models around using monetization of opinions with online sites like Trip Advisor. Amazon books commerce success was due to the unbiased reviews of books by unknown. Start-ups need to understand these nuances & define their customer management strategy by striking a balance.

Give freedom to customers for choice of communication mode.

Plan presences, plot success stories, communicate customer groups with help of select influencers which can sway positive opinion for the brand. Empower them to get them attached to the brand emotionally. Finally build a trust factor to comfort their decision making while executing a purchase.

In the digital social media times right word of mouth amplifies the brand equity value multi folds.

It helps get the desired attention from prospect customers. In enterprise, corporate large deals the value of unbiased recommendations influences the decision heavily. In entertainment most of the decisions by customers are made mostly on word of mouth recommendation only. Leverage with your customer success story.

Get them to endorse, open their network for promotions.

Also learn about the things as a customer they would expect in future. Listening to the customers makes them attached to the brand. Advertising only creates awareness in customers mind so that brand is in the consideration list before marking decision. Word of mouth influence actually helps consumer take the decision of final brand purchase. Start-ups should always create opportunities for their customer to voice out their endorsements in media events.

Word of mouth is difficult to fake but easy to generate the buzz if the message is right. 

When a launch of product happens, new movie releases or new app is published it triggers consumers to voice their opinions, feedbacks. It helps them establish themselves as thought leaders. Every start-up entrepreneur needs to understand the impact of positive customer experience & usage of inexpensive word of mouth marketing.

Entrepreneurs who are in love with their customer find easy to leverage their customer to gain more recommendations in their favour.

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