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4 minute read
These days brands take to social and try to use the multitude of touchpoints on the customer journey to show you they’re your friend. So how can brands transition from fake-friendly interactions to genuine connection?
Let’s examine the brand/customer relationship through the lens of self-help guru Dale Carnegie’s 1936 book How to Win Friends and Influence People1.
Just like anyone, customers respond positively to praise and negatively to criticism. When demonstrating the value of something you’re selling, it’s best to avoid criticising customers’ choices and current behaviours, as this may put them in a defensive position where they feel they have to justify themselves.
Instead present customers with good news about your brand and the measurable benefits they can enjoy when they make the switch to it.
Let your customers know that they’re important and mean it. Be generous and genuine with your praise. It could be as simple as complimenting them on a recent purchase, thanking them for taking the time to visit your website or store, or remembering their name and preferences between visits.
“Remembering someone’s name is a nice gesture, but by asking meaningful questions and showing a genuine interest in the answers, you’ll discover who they actually are and what they want from your brand.”
To provoke interest from your customers, you have to know what they want. And to find out what they want, you first have to understand what’s important to them. Remembering someone’s name is a nice gesture, but by asking meaningful questions and showing a genuine interest in the answers, you’ll discover who they actually are and what they want from your brand.
Seeing things from your customer’s point of view makes it easier to put their wants ahead of your own, and convince them of the benefits that only you can provide.
All things being equal, people will choose to spend their time and money in places they trust, where they enjoy being, and feel the most comfortable. The element of charm in establishing brand affinity cannot be underrated.
Like any useful social skill, charm can be learned and practised until it becomes second nature. Once you’ve mastered a brand-appropriate version of it that inspires feel-good experiences, customers will want to keep coming back to relive those experiences again and again – creating repeat business.
Own your mistakes when you make them. There’s no shame in admitting fault. And don’t try to challenge a poor customer experience. The only way for a brand to win an argument is to avoid having one. The best practice is to acknowledge the error, apologise, and rectify it as soon as possible. Your customers will reward you with positive sentiment and good word of mouth. Getting glowing reviews is as good as money in the bank.
So, there you have it; 1930s era self-help advice that’s still relevant for brands today.