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14 proven ways to connect with customers

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | July 3, 2013
There are many ways to connect with customers, but which ways are the most effective? Business owners and managers as well as customer relationship experts share their tips on how and where to best engage with existing and prospective customers.

13. Go mobile. "Almost everyone is carrying some kind of mobile device today—92 percent of Americans have a mobile phone," says Nur Sharina Shariff, cofounder, Mobile Sales Systems. And "the use of SMS/text messages is instant, cost effective and a tried and tested communication medium that every mobile phone user knows about and knows how to use," she adds.

"In our modern mobile society one can reach with SMS almost anyone at anytime and anywhere in the world within seconds, making text messaging an easy way for a local businesses to connect with their customers," she says.

"What better way to connect with loyal customers than with a branded app that integrates location technology, allowing automatic, personalized delivery of messages to consumers near stores?" asks Eric Newman, vice president of products and marketing at Digby, a mobile commerce and marketing technology solutions provider. "Location-aware apps open an entirely new channel for customers and brands to personally connect before, during and after a shopping experience."

14. Monitor review sites. "Whether it's Yelp, TripAdvisor or Angie's List, find out what customers are saying about your business [on review sites]," says Lisa Parkin, president of Social Climber, LLC, a social media consultancy.

"Responding to customer reviews on these popular sites shows that your company is aware of any problems and is willing to fix them," Parkin says. However, she urges caution when replying to negative comments. Instead of being defensive or picking a fight, try to understand and offer to fix the problem or provide an inducement for the customer to try your product, service or establishment again.


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