Strategies for Effective Consumer Relations

Instructor: Danielle Reed

Danielle works in digital marketing and advertising. She holds a bachelor's degree in English and an MBA.

In this lesson, we discuss strategies for effective consumer relations. We cover strategies to implement including customer rewards, enhancing the customer service experience, communicating frequently, and investing in and developing your employees.

Implementing Effective Consumer Relations

When you purchase a product, you're now a consumer of the item. But think about this: how have you interacted with companies after purchasing? And how have your favorite companies interacted with you? All of this contact is about consumer relations. Add value to your business and boost your revenue with the right strategies for consumer relations which are defined as the process a company uses to create and maintain a positive relationship with their customers and suppliers.

The Purpose of Consumer Relations

Consumer relations is essential to the growth of any business. Primarily, the right relations are about retaining customers. Repeat customers lead to more revenue, loyalty, and a following. Strong relations serve as a resource for your business, whether you need input on business ideas, to consider new uses for products, or even learn more about appealing to a set market segment.

Strategies for Effective Consumer Relations

There are opportunities for any company, product and service-based, to boost consumer relations. From extending rewards to investing in your employee base, getting to know your consumers can make or break a company. Here are some strategies for consumer relations, many of which you're probably familiar with.

Offer Customer Rewards

According to a study conducted by Accenture, 61% of customers find financial rewards and programs more enticing than deals. A loyalty program is a rewards program offered by an organization to customers for their frequent purchases. There are different types of loyalty programs including:

  • Rebates or cash back allow customers to earn money back from prior purchases and redeem after a set dollar amount or at a later date. This system is easy to understand.
  • Discounts give a certain percent or amount from a total purchase, whether it is on one product or a complete purchase.
  • Frequency clubs give rewards for a set number of visits or dollar sales.
  • Points programs turn purchase amounts into points which can be redeemed for rewards or dollar amounts.

Whether your company offers a punch card, which is low-tech, or tracks purchases through a high-tech management system, customer rewards build repeat customers. Some examples of popular loyalty programs are Kohl's Rewards which gives you cash coupons for spending certain dollar amounts, 5% off at the register when you use a Target REDcard, and Starbucks Rewards for a free birthday drink and in-store perks! This benefits both you and Target. There's a reason why Target team employees are always asking if you've signed up for a REDcard!

Enhance the Customer Service Experience

The IBM Institute for Business Value report from 2017 discovered 76% of consumers expect companies to understand their individual needs with 81% demanding improved response time.

This is attributed to large organizations like Amazon because companies offer fast delivery, a seemingly endless number of products, and a tailored shopping experience. In fact, some call this the Amazon Effect, which is defined as an ongoing evolution and disruption of retail marketing, both online and in physical locations, because of increased e-commerce.

Can't keep up with Amazon? It's more about implementing a set of customer-focused tactics to enhance the customer service experience. Tactics for any service or product-based business include:

  • Mimicking the service of the largest shareholders in your organization
  • Using analytics to gather information about your customers
  • Incentivizing your customers through loyalty programs
  • Customizing the user experience on your website
  • Taking time to notice your top consumers by creating special releases for top purchasers, recognizing them online, and even extending discounts
  • Training your customer service professionals and empower them to provide answers

Communicate Frequently

The cost of acquiring a new customer is five to seven times more money than getting an additional purchase from an existing customer, reports Harvard Business School. Frequent communication helps you retain customers because your information is at the top of their minds.

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