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Five ways to improve customer outreach programs

2/24/2012 4:54:07 PM

Business owners tend to look at their consumer mailing lists purely as ways to boost sales. While reaching out to customers through these lists can increase revenue streams, business owners may want to use the provided contact information to develop long-lasting relationships with their customers. Building loyalty helps create positive reviews, increases the potential for word-of-mouth marketing and, in turn, brings in a steady flow of cash. Here are five tips to help business owners treat their leads like individuals.

1.) People placed on new business mailing lists are often treated as a number. They're not spoken to in a personable manner, and when it comes to making a purchase, they're rarely thanked for their business. Customers look to be acknowledged for their loyalty, so business owners may want to use their lead lists for purposes other than calls to action - like to show appreciation for people who have offered up their business.

2.) It is important to focus heavily on building trust and credibility. Business owners may want to reach out to consumers in order to understand what they want and build a successful lead generation program. If consumers want their favorite brands to develop social web features and those brands fail to discover that, the programs will falter and sales will dwindle.

3.) Customers are speaking online, whether to brands or their friends, so it is important for business owners to participate in these discussions. Creating social media accounts and providing consumers with a place to speak about the brand and service can give business owners insight into how their organizations are being perceived in the marketplace.

4.) Timing is key in lead generation and conversion. If customers reach out to a brand with questions or concerns and the brand takes several days or weeks to respond, the customers have likely turned to another outlet to get the information, products and services they want. Business owners need to get in the habit of responding to customers in under 24 hours to provide the highest-quality service.

5.) It's not hard for a brand to purchase or compile mailing lists for marketing, but using those leads successfully is a different story. Business owners need to get in the mindset that customers on their lead list deserve undivided attention. This can be done by addressing customers by name, building upon past conversations and making sure they feel appreciated.

Taking the time to improve customer outreach programs can help a business succeed even in tough economic times. It all begins with superior customer service and a personable approach to sales. 


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