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News Originally posted at smh.com.au

Nine ways to get customers to love your business

September 4, 2016

How to make customers love your business. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Nina Hendy

Here’s how you get customers to return and even be passionate advocates for your business.

1. Create a sense of ownership

Customers made to feel like they’re on your growth journey will always value your product or service far more, according to consumer psychologist and global chief strategy officer of creative media agency, Cummins&Partners, Adam Ferrier.

“Ikea asks its customers to assemble the product at home, and that process of co-creation is shown to increase the value people place on that product quite significantly,” Ferrier says.

2. Encourage mobile shopping

Customers who touch and feel the products they’re buying feel a stronger sense of ownership than those who don’t get that opportunity before they make the purchase, Ferrier says.

“This even extends to customers who purchase via an iPad and touch the item rather than shop on a PC, where they don’t touch the screen. The iPad shoppers feel ownership over the purchase because they’ve touched in via the screen, zoomed in and touched the product. Even if that’s in a virtual sense, it adds to their love of your business.”

3. Listen

Any healthy relationship needs open lines of communication, and it’s no different with customers and a brand, says Mitchell Taylor, co-founder of Koala Mattress, which offers four-hour deliveries in some metropolitan areas.

“Whether it’s the ability to live-track a delivery, or being able to speak to someone on live chat, letting your customers know that you’re listening is key to earning their trust,” Taylor says.

4. Involve your customers

Exodus Wear actively encourages and facilitates customers to be part of the product design process.

Founder and director Elyse Daniels says all their products are custom designed by customers, which means they feel a stronger affinity with the products and the broader business.

The days of telling customers what they want or what is cool are over, Daniels says.

“If you don’t offer custom products, let them be part of the process of designing the next range, vote for colours and features they want included,” she says.

Social media is a great way to facilitate this process as you can get instant feedback, she adds.

5. Rethink the value of your customers

You don’t need lots of sales to prove that customers love your business, according to Heavenly Hammocks’ Daniel Brady.

Sometimes, it’s about the recommendations they pass on to others that are a bonus for you, Brady says.

“We sell hammocks which are usually sold as a one-time purchase with few repeat customers. However, sometimes, customers return to buy another, maybe as a gift because they are so impressed with the quality,” Brady says.

6. Make the purchase easy

Another technique to improve customer love is to throw in a free hanging accessory on sites like eBay, meaning customers don’t have to purchase anything additional to hang and use their purchase, according to Brady, of Heavenly Hammocks.

Regular hammocks are tough to sell on eBay due to the high number of cheap overseas competitor brands given he’s not the cheapest on the market.

“Despite this, it actually costs us very little to include it, though we do lose the opportunity to cross-sell the accessory, so we don’t give the freebie everywhere.”

7. Be authentic

Wanting to be liked can actually devalue your trust currency, according to personal branding specialist Lauren Clemett.

The first step in building a trustworthy brand is authenticity. This means knowing exactly how you are and being prepared to stop trying to appeal to everyone and focus on those you know will enjoy achieving extraordinary success.

“Wanting to be liked is nowhere near as important as knowing exactly who it is you like dealing with,” Clemett, of Ultimate Business Propellor, says.

8. Start a conversation

Content is king, so make sure you’re producing web content, blogs, email marketing, social media and external content to get your brand top of mind and improve SEO, suggests Julie Mathers, founder of 100% vegan online beauty boutique.

Content creation needs careful attention and can be time-heavy, but look for efficiencies, such as outsourcing, Mathers says.

“In my experience, content-driven traffic delivers you a far stickier, engaged, loyal customer,” she says.

9. Tell your stories

Don’t just bombard people with “buy my product” messages on social media. Instead, include entertaining posts on your social media channels, offers Katrina Fox, founder and editor of Vegan Business Media, which works with ethical businesses run on vegan principles.

“Instead of seeing your brand as a faceless entity only interested in taking money from them, you become a fun, interesting and engaging business,” Fox says.

This article was first published at The Sydney Morning Herald

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