I have a pretty blunt question for you:
Why do you do what you do? Why do you sell the products you sell? Why do you offer the services you offer?
(Okay…that was three questions. Sorry about that.)
No matter what you offer, I’m hoping your answer to all three of these questions was “to help people.”
Sure, you want to be able to make enough money to live comfortably.
But you know that to make this happen, you must provide something of value to your customers. Something that helps them overcome a certain obstacle or achieve a specific goal. Something that allows them to grow. Making quick sales to individual customers you’ll never hear from again won’t cut it.
When you sell your products or services to someone, you want to know that you made a difference in their life in some way or another. You want to stay connected to that person while they work their way towards success. And you want to be there when they finally reach their goal – not to take credit for helping them, but to help them celebrate reaching a milestone in their life.
The thing is though:
There’s no guarantee that your customers will engage with you in the future once they’ve made an initial purchase.
Whether or not they’re satisfied with your product or service, they don’t really have much to gain from engaging with your company any further. If they’ve reached their goal, they can move on with their life – they don’t owe you anything other than the money they’ve already given you. And they certainly don’t owe you anything if your product or service failed to help them in any way.
Your customers could walk away and forget all about your brand after they have (or haven’t) gotten what they need from you.
That is, unless you make it a point to reach out to them.
In this aticle, we’re going to discuss the main reasons you should actively check in with your customers from time to time, as well as the most effective ways of communicating.
Let’s get started.
What the Customers Gain
When your customers make a purchase, they’re not simply buying your product or one-off service; they’re giving you money in exchange for something that will help them overcome a pain or achieve a goal.
In a perfect world, you’d provide your customers access to your offering, they’d get full use out of it and reach their objective with ease. Everyone would be happy.
We don’t live in a perfect world, though; we live in a world dominated by Murphy’s Law, which says that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. In terms of your customers, this might come to pass in any of the following ways (and more):
- They might use your product incorrectly or inefficiently
- They might hit unanticipated snags along the way while using your product
- They might become disheartened by these issues, or give up if they fail to see immediate results
How do you solve these issues? By reaching out to your customers and offering them continuing support.
Even if they used your product successfully, there is always more you can do for your customers. By keeping in touch with your successful customers, you can provide extra value to them in a number of ways, such as:
- Celebrating their big win alongside them
- Introducing them to supplemental services to help them grow even further
- Providing them with a platform to showcase their success
Going the extra mile – for both your struggling audience and your successful ones – has a powerful benefit; it increases your brand’s value, especially in their eyes. By either providing them with extra assistance along their journey or building them up once they’ve reached their goal, you prove to your customers that you truly care about them as people, not just as shiny, hovering dollar signs.
Why the Business Comes Out a Winner
Engagement perks do not end with your customers. Consistent and helpful communication benefits your company, as well.
Showing that you care about giving them a pleasurable experience, makes them see your company in an incredibly positive light- which hugely benefits your company. Funny how that works.
And the benefits keep on coming. Staying in touch with customers keeps your brand fresh in their mind. Whether you have something new to offer or are checking in to see how they’re faring on their journey, a quick message is all it takes to remind them that you’re there for them whenever they’re in need. If you don’t check in, you run the risk of allowing your customers to forget all about your brand.
And if that doesn’t cut it for you, your business could also gain a ton of information and insight by staying engaged, both as they use your product and after they’ve achieved success, including:
- The ways in which they use your products
- The length of time it takes them to begin experiencing success
- Areas in which they still struggle while using your products
In turn, you’ll be able to make improvements to your products (and your overall brand) using real-world data, highly increasing the chances customers will value the changes/improvements.
How to Check in Effectively
Now that we’ve established the importance of staying engaged past the initial point of sale, let’s talk about how to stay in touch with them in ways that are both authentic and meaningful.
First things first, let’s make it clear that this is an instance in which the customer truly is always right, with no exceptions. We’ll let that one sink in for a moment. Alright. What we mean is, each of your customers is an individual who will want to engage with your company in their own way.
The onus is on you to offer various means of communication and allow customers to choose how and when they raise a hand.
The Outreach Methods: Automated? Manual? Both?
Authentically interacting with your customers can seem like a monumental task – especially as your customer base grows larger and larger.
Luckily, technology allows us to automate outbound messages that still have a touch of personality. And, of course, you can always reach out to your customers manually as dictated by individual circumstances.
When it comes to automated messages, you have a ton of options at your disposal. From email and social media to SMS and push notifications, you can easily reach customers where they want to be reached.
(Source / Automated messages can simply be used for motivation, as well.)
Speaking of automated communication, there are certainly moments where manually reaching out to customers is important.
These instances, however, are much less frequent and are more “high-stakes.” You wouldn’t manually reach out to a customer when you could communicate just as efficiently through an automated message. You also wouldn’t want to send an important, personal message to an individual customer via automation.
And while we’re on the subject, let’s take a closer look at the timing of your outreach messages.
Getting the Timing Right
Before we discuss the different timing strategies for checking in with your customers, it’s important to remember that you need permission from your customers before even considering these methods.
Permission granted? Great—here are several criteria you need to know as you’re deciding when to reach out:
- After a specific amount of time has elapsed after a purchase
- After they’ve remained inactive for a specific amount of time
- After they’ve reached a milestone with your product or service
You’ll want to schedule certain messages after customers have had ample time to use your product and have hopefully experienced some success. You can determine the right time to send these messages based on data collected on your previous customers (e.g., the average time it takes them achieve a milestone). The objective is to reach your customers just as they’re ready to take the next step in the process when using your product.
Of course, some of your customers may put their journey on the backburner during certain times. You might decide to send automated reminders to these individuals with the hope of spurring them into action.
(Source / A gentle, even humorous reminder works best)
You should definitely reach out to your customers once they’ve experienced a breakthrough or similar success with your product. This is when timing really becomes important, because with impeccable timing, you’re achieving two things:
- You celebrate your customer’s success, giving them the credit they deserve
- You gently remind them that your product or service played at least a small role in helping them succeed
(Source / Full disclosure, this was not sent to me. *Breaks into a sweat just thinking about running for an hour*)
Reaching out to your customers with relevant, timely, and helpful messages will increase their engagement with your brand – whether they’re already engaged or are starting to wane in their use of your services.
Again, though, it’s important to keep your customers’ best interest in mind; if they deem your outreach intrusive in any way, your efforts will backfire. So, make sure you know how, when, and why your customers want to engage with your brand, and give them some value.