Customer service is something you have worked hard to develop in your business. You have become an expert at responding to customer’s needs in a timely and appropriate manner. You have hired and trained the people who interact with your customers, and they do a great job serving your customers. But you aren’t seeing the results you had hoped for in reviews and return customers. How can you get even better at serving your customers? It’s time to consider the customer experience.
Customer service is a term everyone knows. It describes the human connection between your company and the customer and the direct support you give to your customers. It is the assistance and advice you offer to the customer and is often initiated by the customers when they have a problem or question. Customer service is also a very important part of the customer experience.
Customer experience (CX) encompasses all the ways your company interacts with the customer and refers to the broader customer journey and how they feel about your brand. It includes three main components: customer service, technology, and design. CX goes beyond just human, face-to-face interaction with your customers. Everyone on your team is part of creating CX, even if they don’t directly interact with customers.
Today the competition for customers begins with the customer experience. Consumers start making decisions about your brand and your product long before they interact with someone face-to-face at your store. A study from Gartner concludes that CX is proven to be the only “truly durable competitive advantage,” and states that 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience. Additionally research from Bain & Company shows that 80% of companies think they are delivering a superior customer experience. But consumers say only 8% of business provide a superior experience. This means that your CX is probably not as great as you think it is. Forbes concludes, “Focusing on customer experience management (CXM) may be the single most important investment a brand can make in today’s competitive business climate.”
When it comes to creating CX, consistency is key. Your customers need to be able to recognize your brand wherever they find it. They need to know what to expect from your brand as far as quality and customer service. Creating a single, great customer experience is beneficial, but if you want to grow your brand loyalty and get customers to return, you must deliver consistent experiences across multiple interactions.
When you pay attention to customer experience, your business will grow. Research by American Express shows that 60% of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience. A study by the Temkin Group suggests that companies could see a 70% ROI when they invest in the customer experience. Your company already has the customer service part, but as a small business, you struggle with the technology and design parts. If you need a partner to help make this happen, Riley & You is here to help. Let us get started on improving your customer experience today.
Digital marketing has revolutionized how retailers connect with their audiences. Now data on customers can be collected and stored in ways that we could never do on paper. Even though the method of connecting has changed and evolved, the importance of keeping the customer at the center of your business hasn’t. By learning more about what your customer wants and needs, you are better positioned to meet them where they are.
If you are using some form of digital marketing, you may not realize all of the information you are already collecting on potential customers. Or perhaps you realize it, but don’t know how to digest it or what to do with it. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a technology for managing all your company’s relationship and interactions with customers and potential customers. Despite the massive amount of data that a CRM sorts through an automated process, the goal is still to improve business relationships. A CRM systems allows you to stay connected to customers through a streamlined process that ultimately improves profitability.
When the information that you are already collecting is correctly managed, you can make changes based on facts and not just educated guesses. It’s more than understanding a broad, general, target market; it’s the ability to understand each unique customer and how they are interacting with your business. A retail CRM will allow custom tags and fields to be associated with contact info, which can then refer to specific customer attributes that aren’t built into the CRM. Filtered reports can isolate correlations between specific criteria and buying behavior, products, receptiveness to certain kinds of marketing, and so forth. Ultimately you have the ability to target your marketing resources on the places that have proven to be the most effective based on your customer’s known interests and needs.
Using a CRM can support your efforts to build relationships with individual people in all aspects of your business, and by utilizing cloud technology, everyone at your company can access the information wherever they are working. This supports your efforts to collaborate to make sure the customer is getting exactly what he or she needs in the research phase, at the point of sale and in customer support. The ability to respond to a customer’s individual needs ultimately leads to growth for your brand and your company.
By connecting with your customers, understanding their needs, and maintaining healthy relationships, you will grow the future of your company. When you manage data properly, you can position your company for success. We’re here to help utilize your data to create a solid marketing strategy, targeting your ideal consumer.
First, you need to have premium branding to reflect a premium product. This probably means you are not trying to do your own graphic design or hiring your nephew who likes to draw. The good news is that because of the advent of social media and email marketing, you don’t have to spend most of your budget on getting the marketing campaign in front of the consumer through expensive direct mail campaigns or buying television time. Instead, you can focus those dollars on creating high-quality and premium branding. Consumers want products that look and feel luxurious, and that starts with branding.
Secondly, you must always remember that you are marketing a lifestyle, not just a specific product. Consumers want to know that your product will help them achieve their best life, which is reflected in the images, copy and slogans you use in your marketing campaigns. Marketing has shifted from inspiration – being inspired to purchase a product because of a celebrity endorsement – to aspiration – creating the idea that a luxury lifestyle is attainable by anyone who aspires to achieve it.
Finally, brand loyalty remains important. You want consumers to buy into your brand and find a piece of the lifestyle they are looking for at their price point in your store. The research shows that affluent customers justify their purchases by passing over pricier options because it makes them feel like they are being responsible. The luxury items in your store window or center stage in your online video tell the consumer that your brand can deliver the lifestyle are looking for, and when you can deliver a great product, you become part of their new lifestyle.
Our team of experts at Riley & You has the experience you need to take your brand to the next level. We know how to brand your business, so it is positioned as a luxury brand. We also have a team that can create the photos, videos and online marketing tools you need to give your consumers something to aspire to. Let us help you tap into the brand loyalty of your market so that they will keep coming back and grow your business by spreading the word about your product.
Are your ads wasting your money or making you money? At Riley & You, we work with several premium appliance dealers. We have found that in this industry, in particular, many dealers invest a lot of money in advertising that doesn’t create growth. They waste their advertising dollars on media buys that don’t deliver results. However, they continue to follow this industry investment trend.
All advertising costs money. But in this digital age, we have the ability to track your ROI better than ever. At Riley & You, we help our clients take a deeper dive into advertising and promotion and consider where they are in their Market Brand-Awareness Cycle. When we look at the numbers related to your advertising, we can give you an accurate picture of which ads are a good investment and which ads are wasting your money. When we find out that your ad money is poorly invested, we help you find better places for your marketing dollars.
Our bottom line is that media buys are only valuable when you know how and when to use them.
Here are 4 ways we help our clients eliminate ad waste:
We aim for a targeted audience. Traditional media like television and print hit very broad audiences, and it’s difficult to track how effective they are. This is part of the reason appliance dealers continue to use them: they can’t prove they are working, but they can’t prove that they aren’t. However, their overall annual growth tells them it’s not working. At Riley & You, when we use traditional media buys, we make sure we target your specific audience and that we can track the results.
We look for customers who are ready to buy. Television and print media buys are sent to everyone, even people who just bought a new fridge last week. We use digital marketing strategies to put your brand in front of customers who are looking to buy. The ad for your store pops up in online searches with keywords that can turn browsers into buyers.
We make ROBO possible. It’s very uncommon in this industry to order a new stove online, but it is very common for people to research the product online before they walk into your store to buy it. At Riley & You, we use the online version of your store to get people to walk into your actual store. Research shows a new trend in consumers called ROBO, research online, buy offline. Consumers still want to come in and look at their new appliance before it shows up on their doorstep. We can help you do that for your clients.
We initiate engagement through ad content. When your customer sees something they want online, they need to know what to do in order to get it. We make sure that all your online ads and web pages have clear “next steps” for your customers. We also help our clients create content that is engaging, interesting and worth sharing. And we use dynamic landing pages to target different sections of your audience.
Our bottom line is that media buys are only valuable when you know how and when to use them. Partnering with Riley & You gives you access to our marketing experts who will place a premium on your company’s growth and profitability. We can create a marketing plan that delivers notable growth and eliminates waste. Trust us, your bottom line will thank you.
As we close out the year, this is the time to reevaluate each and every relationship while manufacturers are reworking budgets and commitments to independents. Each year there can be major shifts in support, points won or lost within new pricing structures, co-op fund percentage reductions, and so on. While manufacturers in the appliance industry are positioning for a big start in January of each year, independent dealers need to be reassessing these relationships.
Consider these steps in your process of evaluation:
What effort does your rep take to give you up-to-date information on unique rebates, special inventory buys and market advantages you can take to grow your business?
How much support are you receiving beyond your rep from the manufacturer? Are they timely in reimbursements and accurate on the profit margins you should gain on their product lines?
How does the manufacturer follow through with online protection from predatory pricing? Do they have teeth in their policies when other independents violate online pricing?
What type of training do reps offer your sales team on a consistent basis? Are they order takers, or do they strive to keep you on the cutting edge of product upgrades, model changes, and selling smarter?
Is it a hassle to sell the product lines you have on your floor, and is it affecting your reputation? While you may hit some of your profit targets, are you selling products which actually underperform for the customer or create headaches over and over again for your team?
Your reputation is everything, and your profits are at risk every year. The reps and manufacturer relationships will define your success, so take the time now to consider how your year needs to begin. Align your business with the types of manufacturers and reps who take a sincere interest in the profits and success of your business.
Success is dependent on healthy relationships. Our marketing experts understand your business and can help you maximize your manufacturer relationships.