When it comes to business, should it be “customers are always right” or “let customers think that they’re always right”?
Jokes aside, it is important to have a relationship with your clients because the best form of marketing is still word-of-mouth. So how do you keep current clients happy in order to win more clients? You build RAPPORT with them!
Review This is the first step to coming up with not just a business model but also strategies and an accompanying marketing campaign plus possibly a change in company culture. I like to think that this is where you look at your business from a broad perspective before you funnel down into the nitty gritty details.
If you don’t already have, you should implement a feedback system for both staff and customers. This feedback system is important for you to understand pain points for both customers and your staff so that you can review and improve upon them.
Act It’s now the constructive strategising portion. If you have listened to your customers’ and staff’s feedback, you would have a list of issues to tackle. Now, how then do you act on them? An action plan should read a bit like a laundry list but with a timeline and priority. I normally like to put it all into a table and even add in a column named “person-in-charge” so that you know who to look for when it’s time to Review the situation again.
Prove Now you’ve got your theories and your action plan, it is time to prove them. Go forth and roll out your surveys, forums and do the research plus interviews. Remember to stick to the timeline that you put in your action plan. There may be a chance that the results end up giving you a slightly different conclusion or result, which means that you will have to Review and then come up with another Action plan before you can Prove it again and then Promote.
Promote Now that you’ve got an action plan on how to carry out these changes, you will also need to know about both the industry trends and marketing trends in order to promote your business’ services. If you only know one and not the other, your promotions will fall rather flat.
Marketing trendsIt is important to keep ourselves abreast of the latest trends when it comes to marketing because it also gives you a glimpse into consumer psychology and how you package or repackage your current suite of products and services. Every year, I would attend various conferences (e.g. Marketing Magazine and Adobe’s) to both keep myself on track as well as to network. Reading up on forums and articles are also very important.
Collaborations or PartnershipsIt is important nowadays to collaborate and do partnerships with other companies so that you can leverage off each other. The simplest method would be to hold joint promotions with another company. Alternatively, there are quite a few loyalty programmes out there were businesses can list themselves and it’ll be the loyalty programme who will be helping you promote your business and promotions. Thus, you can get real clients into the door to test out your action plan.
Observe After rolling out a new promotion or memo, remember to keep that line of feedback from staff open as they will definitely start telling you whether it works or not. Look to see whether there is a pattern in the feedback that clients give and which manner do they prefer to give their feedback.
Make sure that you pick up on both the verbal and non-verbal feedback from both staff and clients. I’ve often noticed (and I’m also guilty of doing this) that clients often tell you that everything was “fine” or “good” but if you observed them, perhaps they look like they’re ready to bolt out of the door or they say it in the most non-committal manner simply because they don’t want to commit to your sale.
If you see positive feedback but then there’s no conversion, do note that down for review later. If there’s positive feedback that translates to positive returns, take note of what exactly worked and how to better improve on it and make it such that it becomes a habit or company culture.
Reflect Make it a regular occurrence to take what has been promoted and observed, and reflect upon them. When I was in marketing, my team and I would normally look at how our campaigns are running at a monthly as well as on a quarterly basis because our campaigns normally last for 3 months and we plan for the next one a quarter ahead of time. There was a period of time where we would even meet once a week to catch up on what each of us was doing and the different observations we saw over the week. It’s easy to forget things after a month has passed, which was why a weekly review helped.
After a month, that’s when the financial figures will show. Have sales increased or dropped? If so, why? Do not forget that there may be several factors that come into play. If sales decrease, do also look at the economic climate because people will first eliminate what is deemed as ‘luxury’ or ‘pampering’ if they’re tightening up their purse strings. If there is no drastic change, maybe the ‘solutions’ in your action plan are not obvious enough. If there is a spike in the first month but not the next, is it because the advertisements ended too soon?
Train As Richard Branson once said, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to. If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.” Just like how we’ve often heard how we should do unto others how we would like to be treated, the same goes for customer service. They way you treat your employees will be how they treat the clients.
Building a relationship with anyone takes time and it is also a process. But it’s worth it in the end when you see clients coming back to you and staying loyal with you because they know you.
If you’re interested to have a free marketing consultation on how the RAPPORT model can work for your business, please email me at email@example.com