Want to know what is truly at the heart of your business? Your customers.
If your customers love what you have to offer and the way you offer it, they will keep coming back. They will tell all their friends. And you will have gained a loyal customer for life.
On the flipside, if you aren’t prioritising giving your customers an A+ experience, they may seek a solution to their problem elsewhere — no matter how good your product is.
Yes, you heard that right…your product isn’t necessarily the driving force behind your business. The way you treat your customers, address their needs, and tap into their deepest desires is.
And your ability to do that effectively all comes down to something called customer intimacy.
Customer intimacy is simply the process of understanding specific customer needs in order to deliver the ‘best total solution’ for your customers. This may mean customising their experience based on various factors like gender, age, geographic location, and more.
Today, we’ll be diving into eight different customer intimacy strategies you can adapt into your own business (no matter what industry you belong to) in order to increase customer loyalty and retention, drive sales, and overall provide a better experience to your audience.
8 Customer Intimacy Strategies That Actually Work
- Implement practices that make your customers a priority. An easy way to start leveling up customer intimacy within your business is to actually implement operational practices into your business that prioritise rather than isolate your customers. Listen to customer concerns, analyze them (Where are the concerns coming from? What type of customer? Are they similar?), and act on them. It really gets to be that simple.
- Review your policies — are they customer-centric? Your policies should always support your customer in having a fantastic experience buying from you. A great example of simple customer-centric policies that make a big difference in the overall experience your customer will have are things like flexible returns, live chat customer service, free shipping, try it risk-free, and so on.
- Show your customers you care. Everybody likes to feel valued, and that goes for your customers as well. Make sure they know that their feedback and loyalty is appreciated by finding a way to “give back” — this could mean special status for long-time customers, appointing customer advisory boards, or even reaching out to high-value customers before a big product launch to get feedback.
- Make your social proof about them, not you! Sharing positive experiences and feedback from your customers across your social media and website is a great customer intimacy strategy, but you can really take it to the next level by emphasizing the benefits and/or transformation received by the customer in question as opposed to making it an opportunity to promote your product.
- Incentivize your customers to stay loyal (and reward them for that loyalty). It’s one thing to get your customers excited about your brand — it’s another to turn them into loyal repeat customers. So, give them a reason to want to be loyal! One idea is to host frequent giveaways or offer regular discounts off their next purchase. Another method is to create a point-based system that rewards your customers with points for purchases (like Sephora’s Beauty Insider program) and allows them to redeem those points for free swag, discounts, or other prizes. You can even take this a step further by granting your customers’ points for advocacy activities like sharing your content on social media or leaving a review/testimonial.
- Host in-person or digital events. Events are an opportunity for your customers to connect with your brand on a deeper level by further building trust while creating an emotionally-driven relationship with your brand and other loyal members of your community. Webinars, trainings, fashion shows, and pop-up shops are just a few ideas for your next event!
- Use data to truly understand your customers. Data always trumps guessing when it comes to knowing exactly what your customers want and need. Using analytics in your customer intimacy strategy provides a vast opportunity to fine-tune your customer experience and better serve your audience. To make the most out of your analytics, go the extra mile. Seemingly simple things like customer purchase history or your most viewed website pages can reveal patterns, interest, and desire. The more focused you can be when it comes to your analytics strategy, the better — this is what will lead to TRUE customer intimacy.
- Never stop sharing free value. Your customers NEED to know, like, and trust you before they can even think about buying from you, let alone buying from you again and again! So, how do you cultivate know-like-trust? Through free value, of course. Blogging, social media content, and YouTube videos are just a few examples of mediums you can use to provide your audience with free value that relates to what your brand brings to the table and why your customer needs it. You want your customer to be able to turn to your brand as the ultimate “go-to” to fulfill a certain need, and before they can get to that point, they’re going to want to see a demonstration of why your company is that “go-to.” That’s what free value provides.
A few things to note:
If your company is brand new, you may not entirely know what your customer wants and how to provide it to them. So, it’s your job to find out! Conduct market research to get a sense of who your ideal customers are, what they are wanting, and how your solution can fill the gap for them. And keep in mind that the fewer customers you have, the better equipped you are to provide an excellent and highly personalised customer experience for each individual. Take advantage of this time and truly dedicate your attention to your customers — they will remember that you did.
You’ll know that your customer intimacy efforts are working if…
- You have more customers who are finding your brand directly via word-of-mouth
- New product/service launches are performing better as existing customers are purchasing out of loyalty
- You have a low customer churn rate, meaning customers purchase your product consistently for many months or years before they stop buying
I’ve been in business long enough to know that if you put your customers first, they will reciprocate and you will have a loyal customer for life. So, never hesitate to get serious about understanding your audience’s needs, fine-tuning your strategy to meet those needs, and showing them massive appreciation for being a member of your community. These efforts will pay off!