Brand cynicism is abundant in today’s society and brands must do everything they can to stay human and prove they truly care about their customers. Here are 6 social responsibility-marketing suggestions for showing your brand is one that cares:
1. Live Genuinely
You’re probably familiar with the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words,” and this is true for customer relationships, too. You can talk all you want about how great your company is, but you’ll be appreciated much more if you simply do it in the first place. Your customers will really value that you took the care to show good service in the first place without being reminded to do so.
2. Commit To Being A Peacemaker
Arguments cause problems with customer relationships just as they do in any other relationship. Deliberately choose to watch out for potential arguments and when you sense you are entering into an argument, just stop. Not every argument is worth engaging in and most probably aren’t worth the risk of harming the customer relationship. Take online conversations offline where they can cool off, and always try to see issues through the customer’s perspective. Rarely is an argument worth losing business over, and the little ones can contribute to gradual erosion.
3. Apologize Generously And Give Up The Need To Be Right
Many people have a hard time apologizing for something they don’t feel responsible for in the first place, but customer relationships are too valuable to lose over petty arguments or miscommunications. Is being “right” more important to you than your customer’s feelings? In the long run, your customers will be happier and you will feel better after an apology. It shows you care about them more than winning an argument. Obviously, this requires discretion, but the main idea here is to not let stubbornness get in the way of a happy customer relationship.
4. Do Something Unexpected
Most people love a surprise, especially when that surprise is something that helps them or makes their life a little bit easier, even if it is just for a minute. It could be as simple as a card to show appreciation “just because,” or offering a coupon or promotion to get something extra. Even simple actions can speak volumes, especially if the customer has had an especially difficult day. It’s a great expression of caring, even when it appears to be simple or obvious.
5. Give Freely
This doesn’t mean give away your time and talent in a way that lets others take advantage of you. It just means that people appreciate giving. Find a great shortcut that could save others time? Send a tweet or shoot over a quick email. Come across an article you think would be particularly helpful for a client? Send it their way and let them know you were thinking of them. It’s easy to overlook simple acts of kindness but they can make a big difference.
6. Start Every Day With Customer Appreciation
Being grateful for your customers is one of the simplest ways to achieve positive brand associations and better customer relationships. You don’t have to do anything over the top. Simple actions like saying, “thanks” or acknowledging the customer as an integral role in your success may be all that’s needed. Often we may find that working with a customer a day in and day out can lead to a feeling of familiarity. Be mindful of this and make sure you treat them with the same level of quality and respect you would show a new client or even a prospect.
Showing your customers you care on a regular basis is less challenging than it sounds. While it may be easy to overlook the little things in daily or weekly customer relationships, it’s often the little things that make a difference and create customer loyalty. It simply takes a conscious effort and may even require formal processes to ensure customer relationships are never sacrificed and always nurtured.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.