Last month, we extolled the virtues of customer outreach—why you should do it and how you can go about it. So now you have all this delicious feedback from your customers, but your job is not complete. To get any value at all from your hard-won insights, you must apply what you’ve learned.
Unfortunately, that’s where a lot of people get stuck. They think they don’t have time to make changes in their organization, they’re not sure where to begin, or things aren’t broken enough (yet) to make these opportunities a high priority. But as the saying goes, you can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results!
here are five ways you can capitalize on your outreach efforts:
- Adjust your brand image. Is the reputation you have with customers and prospects what you want it to be? Do they see you the way you want to be seen? If your outreach efforts point to a disconnect, here’s your opportunity to make adjustments. You can change the customer experience to align with the brand image you aspire to achieve, or change your brand image to align with the reputation you have in the market. Either way, there must be alignment between your brand and the customer experience, or your brand will be rejected as inauthentic.
- Tailor (or refine) your messaging. Your outreach efforts should reveal (or confirm) what is most important to your customers and prospects. What do they want and expect from you? What are their values and how does your organization align with them? Understanding your audience on this level gives you the information you need to tailor your messaging in a way that speaks to them and inspires action.
- Align the experience. Your brand and messaging set the customer up for what to expect when they walk in your door or engage with you online. Does their experience match what was promised? From the way you answer the phone to the tone of your social media posts, to the demeanor of your frontline staff—all interactions between your customers and your organization should align with the experience promised by your brand and messaging. You can’t claim to be “for all members of the community,” for example, if the customer experience says you’re geared toward older customers with money. Similarly, you can’t claim to be “modern and forward-thinking” if your online and in-person experience says you’re stuck in the early aughts (that’s early 2000s, but if you’re modern and forward-thinking, you already knew that).
- Make customers part of the process. Don’t pass up the opportunity to continue engaging with your customers. Ask follow-up questions. Use them as beta testers. Trust me, as long as they see you applying what you learn, they will keep talking to you, and they will become more invested in your brand. They may even become brand ambassadors, spreading your gospel for FREE.
- Tell people what you’re doing, and why. As you make changes, let your audiences (both internal and external) know what you’re doing and why. “Hey, you told us you wanted X, and we’re making that happen next month because it supports our commitment to Z.” Not only will your audiences know that you’re paying attention and listening to them, they will appreciate that you’re taking action. This invites continued dialog, feedback and engagement.
If you have insights from a recent rebranding program, messaging plan, or outreach effort but you’re not sure how to translate them to action, let’s talk. There are countless ways the information you have (or the information I can help you obtain) can be applied in your organization to enrich and improve the customer experience for lasting engagement and return.