How Social Service Communities Can Drive Loyalty

How can we keep our customers happy? What does it take to build a loyal customer base?

The answers to these age-old questions are critical to business success. No matter what your industry, the size of your business, or anything else, without happy, loyal customers, the future is bleak.

As a result, it's important for businesses to ask these questions regularly. Unfortunately, with today's always connected consumer, these questions are becoming more and more difficult to answer.

The rise of the Internet, mobile channels, and social media have not only created more choices for customers, but they have also put these choices right at customers' fingertips at all times. Equally notable, the emergence of these technologies has given customers a public forum to voice their opinions—both positive and negative—about businesses and their products or services.

Nevertheless, businesses must continue to find new ways to satisfy these customers, whose expectations are higher than ever.

Building a Loyal Customer Base

The first step to building a loyal customer base is to create satisfied customers. While providing a top-notch product or service is an essential part of keeping customers happy, so, too, is delivering world-class support. In fact, KissMetrics reports that 50 percent of customers will stop doing business with a company after a poor service experience. Service is so important that 86 percent of customers are actually willing to pay more for a better experience.

So how can you satisfy customers? In today's mobile, social, and instant-gratification age, customers want the service experience to be effortless and personalized, and they also want it on their terms. It's unlikely that phone support will ever become truly extinct, but an increasing number of people are opting for self-service or online support over calling in and speaking to an agent or salesperson. As a result of these changes in customer expectations and preferences, the ability to deliver efficient and helpful service across all channels is essential. The same goes for providing customers with the resources they need to solve problems on their own.

Beyond offering a variety of service options, another key to delivering a great customer experience is to listen to the voice of the customer. Ultimately, what people want is someone to listen to what they're saying. Everyone wants to know that their opinions are being heard, so listening to your customers and being both responsive and honest will go a long way in building brand advocacy.

How Social Service Communities Can Help

Social service communities should be a central part of any customer loyalty strategy. These online communities are one of the best ways 

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