Successful businesses connect with customers. And they do this via 5 traits that are critical for client engagement: believability, authenticity, transparency, sincerity and dependability.
Let’s see how this works. One of the easiest ways to do this is by asking yourself 3 questions:
- Think about your favorite businesses. What is it about them that makes your favorite list?
- How do you FEEL when you interact with those businesses?
- Why do you keep going back?
What we’re doing here is identifying engagement triggers. Those traits that keep you engaged with vendors, shop owners, and service providers.
We count on certain colleagues and small business owners for various services we need — IT support, accounting, video production…..to name a few.
If we look at the commonalities of these vendors, we see a recurring theme.
They’re all dependable and believable. Believable because they’re transparent. What you see is what you get. It makes us feel confident that they’ll deliver on their promise and we’ll get what we were ordered. And then some.
Since we like working with people we like, we also hire people who are sincere and authentic. These traits are part of being a trusted provider. And that’s one of the things YOU need to do to build your client base.
Examples always help. We learn from others who’ve gone before us. So let’s look at some companies that have done a really good job of engaging their clients.
Successful Client Engagements
The name Netflix is synonymous with offerings that no one else has. And what you see is what you get.
Can you think of the last time you heard anyone say something bad about their service? I can’t. What I DO hear is only raves about the latest hits that “you have to watch!” And the service is always dependable.
Per this article in Forbes, “While the company hasn’t been without the occasional controversy, a report in the Wall Street Journal going so far as to describe its corporate culture as being “transparent to the point of dysfunctional,”
If you shop at Target, you know their stores are uniformly clean and well-stocked and the service is outstanding. You rarely have to search far for assistance. So you can get in and out quickly and generally find what you need. Their mission is to “provide Target shoppers a hassle-free experience” and the effort starts with making sure inventory is available in stores and on its online site. They nail it.
Read more about Target’s outstanding customer service n this article in Retail Customer Experience.
Trader Joe’s is another company that delivers on customer care with impeccable service. Jolly check out people, helpful shelf stockers, and easy returns make shopping there enjoyable. Well, other than the Covid lines outside the stores. But the lines are there because Trader Joe’s wants to keep you safe. They are precise about the number of people allowed in their stores at any given time. So you feel like they really care about you as a customer.
I love Warby Parker! They take customer engagement to a whole new level. For one thing, it’s fun to go into one of their shops. It’s like going into a wonderful bookstore but instead of books, there are glass frames. Which you can touch. And try on. At your leisure. You can browse…..
as much as you want. And when you’re ready for help or have a question, there is always a knowledgeable and friendly sales associate to help you out.
Their make-shopping-fun branding is outstanding. “Nice to see you” is printed on the inside of your glass case. It’s fun and charming and makes you feel good. Like they really care about making you happy with your purchase. And they include a bright colorful lens cleaner that makes you smile every time you clean your glasses. Super marketing. Super company.
Familiar with Quince? They embody all of the traits I mentioned at the start of this post — believability, authenticity, transparency, sincerity and dependability. Plus one more, sustainability.
Their tagline — “Everyone should be able to afford nice things.”
An online retailer, they offer top quality clothing and organic bedding at remarkably low prices. Think beautiful quality $59 cashmeres and washable silk items that would cost triple that at a traditional retailer. Their secret? No middlemen, they sell “Factory direct to your doorstep.” Low-cost minimalist packaging. And what they call “specialist factories” around the world that pay sustainable wages.
Add in a commitment to green manufacturing, reducing carbon footprints and a beautiful clean website designed for accessibility, and you have a company that truly understands millennials and probably a lot of their parents as well.
Bottom line: you feel good shopping Quince. You feel like you’re helping others receive living wages and not hurting the planet. And their Mongolian cashmere sweaters are yummy soft.
What can your small business learn from companies like Quince?
How do you build trust into your client relationships?
We offer 5 key takeaways:
- Believability – Make honesty a part of your culture.
- Transparency – Let clients get to know you. This is how you engage them and build relationships.
- Authenticity – Be genuine. Whether you sell products or services. Quality counts.
- Sincerity – We like doing business with people who are sincere. It makes us feel good.
- Dependability – Without this, you can’t have much of a business.
Companies that don’t deliver what they promise don’t stay around long. Especially with social media that enables anyone to share your lousy products or crappy customer service with half the world.
From a consumer standpoint, the internet affords us a multitude of ways to buy. If your company doesn’t make customer care a priority, there are plenty of others that will.