For jewelry brands, customer relationships have always been a foundation of success. Jewelers pride themselves on being some of the most customer-centric retailers in their communities. So you should be relieved to learn that succeeding with the modern consumer – in our increasingly networked, digital world -- is going to require a renewed and refocused emphasis on customer service and relationships.
This is the premise in the great new marketing book, The Hidden Power of Your Customers: Four Keys to Grow Your Business Through Existing Customers, by Becky Carroll -- customer advocate and social media marketing expert. In the introduction to the book, Brian Solis, principal analyst at the Altimeter Group, writes: “As everyday sales and service become commodities, experiences and relationships become paramount.” That’s good news for jewelers, who already excel in the realm of the customer experience.
However, this isn’t the run-of-the-mill, sales-with-a-smile customer service that your company may have been coasting on for years. To succeed with today’s “connected customer,” Carroll explains that you must rethink your customer strategy from the customer perspective and create experiences that excite them to positively share your brand with others.
According to Solis, here’s why developing great -- not just good -- customer experiences is vital for business survival:
- The increasing connectivity of customers means they have more power to promote or pummel your brand.
- In today’s environment of viral sharing, the customers’ word of mouth has become an extension of your marketing and sales efforts.
- Your brand will be discussed and shared by the most vocal customers, who either love or you’re your company so strongly that they will share their experiences online and in person with friends and family.
- It is these vocal customers who will be your most important customers. They are the “social influencers” -- your brand advocates -- who can spread positive word about your company and product to hundreds of peers on social networks, review sites, online forums and, as always, to friends and family in person.
- If you can create an unbeatable positive experience for them, “you can literally plug into an entirely new world of connected consumerism that extends those exchanges beyond the typical few friends they might tell to their social networks, forums and online review sites,” writes Solis.
A successful brand won’t fear the conversations being had about their company in reviews and social networks. Instead, they will control the customer experience by determining what type of experience each customer has. We’ll be spotlighting Carroll’s marketing strategies so you can unlock the hidden power of your customers in the coming weeks.
To start mastering customer-centric marketing, look at your store from the customer perspective – is it giving them experiences to rave or rant about? Think about and define the experiences you’d like your customers to share about shopping at your store. What do you want people to say about your store? How do you want them to share the experience
Next week: Are you ignoring your most loyal customers -- and losing sales opportunities?