5 things you should know to attract, influence & keep customers: make enhancements to products and online experiences in response to customer feedback.

Author:McCoy, Frank
Position:Small Biz

NO BUSINESS---SMALL-, MEDIUM-, or corporate-sized--stays on top by being complacent. Increasingly and across many sectors, elevating revenues and income means more than just providing better goods or services than your competitors. Key is communicating your brand's expertise clearly, efficiently, comprehensively, and immediately--with updates and tweaks--to customers whether they are consumers, retailers, or wholesalers. That's where, naturally, the Internet has proven to be an incomparable resource to reach and teach a buyer or potential customer that you have the best product offer.

Since 2007, J.D. Power and Associates has ranked the 12 largest U.S. credit card issuers in customer satisfaction. One company has topped the list each year: American Express. Doris Daif, vice president of global digital customer experience, says that achieving and maintaining digital customer trust and respect is continually upgraded at American Express. Those tweaks can be modeled by entrepreneurs in other industries to upgrade their own businesses. American Express, which has highly engaged customers, uses social media to solicit Web-tweaking suggestions and feedback. The card company receives more than 20,000 responses per month and roughly 75%take time to comment on their experience. In late 2011,AmericanExpress.com began beta testing its own upgrade.

The company simplified navigation, enhanced the search capability, and made the page more user-friendly. "It all begins with service. It is always about the customer. The entire thing goes back to being available 24/7, as customers won't wait around, and [customer] decisions are made at lightning speed," says Daif. Be aware that customer involvement drives and informs the interactive process and experience.

Daif shares American Express' knowledge about how to keep customers:

1 Remember to go slow, to go fast. Companies must know as much as possible about their customers' product or service needs, buying power, and what they really want to do. That insight will determine whether your business succeeds or fails.

2 It's not enough to simply hear what customers say, you must actively listen. Digital feedback has to be sought and captured continually. If possible, customer satisfaction survey requests should be made within 48 hours of their purchasing a good or service and need to be as brief as possible to make it easy for users to respond. Place a very visible...

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