Say “Hello” to your customers regularly and they’ll keep coming back
Greg Chen CEO of Mobiz, discusses why businesses should keep in regular contact with their customers.
Whether you’re a business offering a particular service or a professional working in a professional practice, regular communication with your customers or clients can go a long way to keep your appointments book filled up. Merely relying on clients to contact you when they need your service or product is not nearly enough to turn your business or service into a household name.
While large businesses understand this, it’s not often that smaller enterprises contact customers they have dealt with previously. We all receive communication from our banks about new products but when last did you hear from your plumber or the roofing firm that you used five years ago?
There are numerous reasons why it makes good business sense to build relationships with customers. Reducing customer churn, lowering the costs of acquiring customers, and creating a differentiator for your business are just some examples of why ongoing communication makes sense.
In most businesses, there’s every reason for customers to make multiple purchases. Take roof repair, for instance. It shouldn’t be a once-off contact just when the roof actually leaks - the roof needs to be checked regularly and there may be a need to repaint the roof with waterproof paint every five or 10 years. The roofing contractor should make contact with the client at an appropriate time to remind them of the need for the next service. Otherwise, the roof won’t be checked and maintained - and the next time it leaks it’s quite possible that the customer will call in another service provider to do the repair.
The upcoming shift in seasons represents a great opportunity for small businesses to contact people who have previously interacted with them. For handymen, the message could be about it being a perfect time for painting or repairing broken gutters because the rain is now largely over. Gardening services have myriad potential offers to make with the move into Summer, while sports clothing and equipment stores could be promoting their stock for summer sports.
According to Greg Chen, the founder and CEO of mobile communication tool Mobiz, “The benefits of ongoing customer communication makes it a no-brainer. But, what’s less obvious is the way in which that communication could take place for it to be most effective. And importantly, how one can start to collect customer data with minimal friction.”
Traditional methods include outbound calls from call centres, emails and SMSs.
“However, while these are established methods of making contact with customers, it’s also important to analyse their success rate,” explains Chen. “After all, it makes no sense to make a thousand calls if you achieve only one sale.”
Chen advises that the best bet is to opt for a communication tool that will promote more engagement between the business and its customers. “You want to be sure that significant numbers of recipients of your communication respond positively to the contact you’ve made - be it through opening your email, replying, or ideally actually making a purchase,” he says.
Chen favours the channel of Smart SMS. “Firstly, research shows that people will open an SMS 98% of the time, compared with 22% of emails, 29% of tweets and 12% of Facebook posts. So, this already shows that using SMS as a communication tool makes great sense.”
Then, if you are able to personalise the SMS - by including the individual customer’s name, for example - your response rate is immediately likely to be higher. Plus, if you include a response mechanism via the SMS, you’re much more likely to get a response So you can use the SMS as the first stage to get the customer interested; then add a clickthrough to a web page with more details and with a response mechanism like making a booking or purchasing online.
“We have seen a 400% improvement in engagement rates for these sorts of Smart SMSes as opposed to other forms of communication,” Chen says. “That means that the investment in the service more than pays its way.”
This method of communicating with customers is particularly easy to carry out - and it needn’t cost very much either. For around R200 one can be set up with mobile marketing automation to start growing their customer data organically and reach hundreds of these customers via SmartSMS.
As a small business owner, you can make your business stand out from your competitors. Good service is definitely a differentiator - and communicating with customers is one element of good service.
G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”