It takes a commitment of a lifetime to fall in love and a day to commemorate it. Relationships are earned the hard way, and it takes a lot more than an occasional bunch of roses or a greeting card or a candlelight dinner to keep the love alive. It makes sense to suggest that in all walks of life, and especially in love and business, we value relationships that we earn and price things that we receive without actually having to work for. Needless to say then, things that we price but do not value does not last very long.

The consumer is not a moron. She’s your wife.

-David Ogilvy

Speaking of valuing relationships, do your consumers feel the love? How’s your relationship with your customers? While established brands and market leaders may find it a tad too easy to woe their love interests (read: the consumers) with giveaway offers this Valentine’s season and beyond, small businesses have every reason to believe that they can make their love stick around, even with the meager resources that they have. But, they have to learn to leverage those resources judiciously. We’ll take you through some useful tips and tricks that small businesses can lean on to reaffirm their commitment to their consumers. Take a look.

Quid Pro Quo Is the Basis of Loyalty Toward Each Other; Measure It

First, before your small business decides to plunge into a relationship, test the waters. That is to say, you should ideally think before being generous to all your users straightaway by giving away offers and discounts. Wait a minute there. Objectively measure the loyalty of your users before deciding to pull the strings on customer relationship management. Measure the effectiveness of the loyalty programs of your e-commerce store and selectively reward the users that deserve the love. Use the Net Promoter Score (NPS) at various stages of the interaction between your e-commerce store and the user to assess the loyalty of the user before giving anything away. Ask personalized questions to see if the user is not only willing to buy, but also to recommend your brand on your behalf and thus don the role of a spokesperson for your brand.

Train Your Customer Care Staff to Lean on Emotional Intelligence

Second, be aware of the fact that your users like to engage and interact with the people behind your e-commerce online store and not with an e-commerce website or the bulk emails and texts that you send. Humanize the customer care department. Train your customer care personnel to be more fluid, expressive and lively in their interactions. In fact, it makes great sense to think of exploring the use of artificial intelligence as a way to make chatbots more effective, responsive and user-friendly. Allow your users to be navigated across product categories to make their search more convenient.

Match the Right Localized Pages to the Right Users

Third, don’t forget that it is an interdependent world and that this Valentine season, your small business could meet its love interest in any corner. Enable your small business to go global with an e-commerce store. Match the right localized pages to the right users. For example, if you have diverse linguistic versions of the same e-commerce website with, for example, one in German, you would want your users from countries that have German as a primary language (Germany, Austria, and Hungary are examples) to discover those pages straight away and thus ease their customer journey.  Use Hreflang Tags to internationalize your business and take your e-commerce website global. That way, you are more likely to hit the right notes with users from overseas locations and sell better and thus higher.

andrew stutesman 643239 unsplash 1024x680

Bring Your A-Game on Social Media with Influencer Marketing

Fourth, laser-focus your content marketing on social media. Make the conversations between your e-commerce brand and the users more participatory, inclusive and relevant for users. Of course, it is a given that great social media content is imperative. Just in case you need some inspiring ideas to get an eye-catching and more attractive content title that shares the warmth and exuberance of Valentine’s Day, try using Portent’s content idea generator.

Yet given the fast pace of disruptions in the technological landscape, you would ideally want to go with the flow of artificial intelligence, machine learning and new age tactics like influencer marketing and see if what emerges from this innovative combination of either of the three or diverse permutations of these. Remember that users love to see a visible face advocating your small business brand. That is how they can walk across the bridge separating them from your brand and narrow the trust gap. You don’t make your users love your brand without acknowledging and lowering the trust deficit.

Look to Create Customer Delight, Not Just Satisfy Them

Gone are the days when customers would be satisfied with a business enterprise merely touching the line of their expectations. Given the cut-throat competition, more small businesses entering the market, the advent of technology and the sharp rise in price competition, it makes good sense to suggest that loyalties switch fast. Precisely, it makes enormous good sense to suggest that if you are thinking on the lines of the conventional concepts of customer satisfaction and thereafter aiming at retaining customers, you have probably got it all wrong with your customer relationship funnel and are likely to see the flow of customers through the CRM funnel drop sooner or later. Monitor the purchase behavior of your customers, their billing archives and engagements with your brand cautiously and on a regular basis.

As Warren Buffet, the maverick investor, suggests, irrespective of whether you are a small business or a large blue chip corporation, you need to make your customers think of your brand day in and day out. That is what sparks the love! Move a step beyond customer satisfaction. Think of creating delight, and not only will your customers stay with you, but they will also happily endorse your brand to others on your behalf.

Accept Receipts in Multiple Currencies on Your E-commerce Website

Sixth, this Valentine’s Day, remember that you have to speak the language that your love knows, understands and speaks. The currency that your e-commerce website uses has to be the one that your users use. In other words, your small business should ideally be using a great cloud-installed subscription management software product that allows you to manage payments, receipts, and invoices in diverse currencies. That is one of the ways your small business can earn more revenues, expand its audience around the world, and finally grow big. Further, go a step ahead and make sure that you streamline the e-commerce website’s ordering interface to accommodate alphanumeric zip codes, as prevalent in areas like the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands and Canada. It goes a long way in adding users from these geographies to your existing fan base.

holger link 1149658 unsplash 1024x743

In the final diagnosis, remember three things that define the way customer relationships have evolved, and this Valentine’s Day will add another chapter in the book. These three things are the content, the container and the mode of delivery. The content in your offering, i.e. the value proposition. Everything else is plastic, and the user is smart enough to know this. Second, the container has evolved thanks to technology, and this season your users are heading toward AI, machine learning and data. Third, the mode of delivery may be fully or semi-automated, but this is one thing that needs to have the human touch. No one ever fell in love with an object that has no consciousness. Humanize and personalize your customer relationship management and let the love keep growing.