Business was arguably a lot simpler in the pre-internet age. Companies that took pride in their products and services would gradually build a good reputation through word of mouth from the positive experiences of their customers (often supported by unique promotional merchandise); alternatively if a business wasn’t meeting the customers’ needs, a growing number of disgruntled customers would eventually create a negative reputation. In this environment, the phrase ‘the customer is always right’ was born, an expression which is still used (and possibly overused) in businesses today. Whether the customer is actually right (and often they’re not) is largely irrelevant however, the key point is that a company needs to treat every customer’s needs as important, whatever they may be, and that ultimately their custom is valuable.
These days this is especially significant, as word of mouth has been overtaken by social media as the forum for comment and opinion, and is much more wide-reaching and influential than a chat with friends and neighbours. Networks such as Twitter are platforms to express opinions to a potentially massive audience, and this is great if your customer has a glowing review of your service, which can give your sales a nudge in the right direction, but if the customer has felt unhappy with their experience, there’s potential for thousands of people to get a negative account of your company, and whether justified or not, the damage has been done in seconds.
Companies market themselves via social media because it is a great way to reach customers, but it also has this potential for instant feedback, and unfortunately an unhappy customer is much more likely to air their views than a happy one, so it’s especially important to make an concerted effort to ensure your customers feel valued and appreciated.
What’s the best way to do this? Well, providing an excellent service aside, rewarding customers who make large or repeat purchases is a great way to recognise loyalty and make the customer feel valued, and discount vouchers or free gifts are an effective way of doing this (and also encourage further purchases). Free gifts also help to build a personal relationship with your customers, and our wide range of corporate gifts includes desirable and useful freebies that will be appreciated and create a positive association with your brand. Ultimately, your business is built on its customers, so show yours how important they are and you will be rewarded with a positive reputation and loyal customer base. Branded umbrellas are a great start, and very useful!