In today’s increasingly competitive retail environment, businesses have to work hard to attract consumers. However it’s not only about attracting customers, it’s about keeping them.
As customers are becoming increasingly money motivated and focused on searching for the best deal, loyalty goes out the window in favour of bagging a bargain.
I was on a train when, about half way through the journey, it gradually ground to a halt. Once the driver and guard had met to discuss the situation, one of the next steps they took was to inform the passengers. The reason behind the halt to the service was outlined to us along with a timeline of when the train would get going again.
Businesses therefore need to step up the campaign to drive loyalty and communication plays a big part in this. A couple of interactions I had with big brands this week illustrates this rather nicely.
We were updated at frequent intervals throughout the delay and regularly prompted to ask any questions. This not only served to reassure passengers and dispel any bad feeling due to missed appointments and meetings, but also fostered a feeling of good will towards the staff who were communicating with us.
A quick glance at Twitter later on in the day confirmed I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. A fellow passenger had sent a tweet of praise to the train operator, thanking its staff for the way they handled the situation and kept their customers informed.
Contrast this with my regular attempts to contact my mobile phone provider. I made regular contact via phone and email to discuss an issue with my bill. The result? Nothing. Eventually, many communication attempts down the line, the situation was resolved, but by then the damage was done. My attitude towards the company had changed considerably. Communication is representative of the way a business views its customers and this one failed! I’m no longer a customer.
Communication is an essential link between companies and their customers. Regardless of the nature of the news, the line of communication shouldn’t be broken as it plays a major role in creating happy customers and keeping them engaged with the brand.