Editor’s Note: Here at Constant Contact, helping small businesses succeed is the motivation behind everything we do. We believe small businesses have a real advantage and we’re committed to your success. As part of our commitment to you, we created The Promise. This year we’re taking a closer look at what this promise really means across our business, and providing advice to set your business up for success. The following is the latest post in The Promise series from Ken Surdan, our SVP of Product. He is responsible for building all the great tools that we provide to small businesses every day.

With all that you have on your plate you may be thinking, “who has time to master a new technology tool?” And you’re right.

Most companies, even Constant Contact, struggle with this question. Luckily, every day my product team evaluates dozens of new ideas and technologies to determine which have the greatest potential to help our customers.

There is no doubt that, in today’s world, we all need technology to engage our customers, especially when we don’t get to be with them in person.

The good news is that we have hundreds of talented people working every day to select and build the best tools for your small business. That is what we love to do. We match your passion for your small business, focusing all of our energy on helping you get amazing results with as little time invested as possible.

That’s why we promise to give you the best marketing tools to help you succeed by growing the customer relationships you have and helping you create new ones.

To deliver on this promise, my team spends hundreds of hours a month talking to you on the phone, visiting your businesses, and researching market trends that specifically impact small businesses and organizations.

When we’re not talking to you, we’re talking about you.

Every day we meet with our customer support team to better understand how you use our products. Your “aha” moments and your challenges.

We work very hard to be great listeners and create a feedback loop that includes customer service, customer testing and research, and product development teams. You can be sure that your voices, your experiences, and your priorities are reflected in every product feature and function we develop.

This passion for the customer is one of your key strategic advantages in a competitive market. Here are some great techniques for getting into the minds of your customers:

  1. Ask for feedback. As our CEO Gail Goodman says, feedback is truly a gift. It allows you to see your business through your customers’ eyes and get ahead of any issues that may need fixing. But don’t just wait for feedback to show up, ask for it. Online surveys are a great way to get powerful feedback that you may not hear otherwise. My team uses them every week.
  1. Request reviews. Customers today have most likely checked you out on review sites before they ever step foot in your place. Embrace this new transparency and encourage them to share their experiences online. If you come across a not-so-glowing review, reach out to those customers to find out why and what you can do to fix it. When a customer tells us where we can improve, it is regarded as a gift. It helps us understand how to get better. And when customers see that there’s a real person behind the screen eager to improve their experience, you’ll earn their vote of confidence.
  1. Tell customers how their feedback has influenced your business. People value businesses that care about what they think and need. Spotlight them and their ideas in your newsletter and on social media. When customers know they’re being heard, it creates a powerful feedback loop where the customer experience keeps getting better.

And create wow customer experiences

Just like you aim to deliver wow customer experiences by delivering great service and awesome products, my team strives to do the same with online marketing tools that are easy to use and make a measurable impact on your business.

We build tools that allow you to engage customers in a variety of ways. From email, to social media, to event marketing, to making sure your business or nonprofit shows up in all the right online directories.

My team will always stay in front of marketing trends and techniques, delivering the best tools to you so you can focus on your business.

It doesn’t matter what kind of small business you have, you can create wow customer experiences by:

  • Engaging customers in the ways they want to be engaged. Most prefer email, some opt for social media, and some have made your business part of their daily routine. We give you the tools to quickly and easily reach your customers wherever they are, making it easier for them, in turn, to engage with you.
  • Anticipating their needs. Our definition of “wow” means to so completely understand the customer that you can anticipate what they need without them even asking for it.  The more customers engage with you, the more you’ll learn about them. And if you are paying attention, it gives you a chance to anticipate their needs. The more you’re able to present them with content and offers that do that, the more likely they are to respond and tell their friends about these awesome people that just seem to “get it”.
  • Freely sharing your expertise. We try every day to be your trusted marketing partner. Like with this blog, if we can share and engage you with our best ideas marketing ideas, we think that leads to great long-term partnerships. When you give customers insider tips, shortcuts, and generally make it easier for them to use your products and services, they’ll continue to use them too.

Topped by great customer service

For our team, great technology and great customer service go hand-in-hand. While our tools are easy to use, we know that each small business is truly unique. There may be very specific needs you have, and there may be times when you get stuck trying to accomplish your goals.

We try to make that a rare occurrence, but when it happens, our team is just a phone call, live chat, or email away. And like I said earlier, great service is a foundation for great listening. It gives any small business an opportunity to learn and improve the things that matter most to their customers or constituents.

Even if you don’t have a dedicated customer service team, you can still deliver a great customer experience. You can stand out by:

  1. Personalizing the online experience. If you send emails that reflect individual preferences and recognize recent purchases, it can go a long way in strengthening customer relationships. Send a different follow-up to people who engage differently Also, engage your most active customers on social media by responding to individual posts, asking questions, and initiating conversations as opposed to overt promotions.
  1. Creating memorable face-to-face experiences. Most SMBs have a great advantage. They get to see and speak to their customers every day. Warm greetings, having extra staff available during peak hours, bringing experts onsite to answer questions, and offering small tokens of gratitude make a big difference. And that is all way better than the bigger, more impersonal companies you are going up against every day.

My product team is dedicated to constantly improving the tools that help you turn prospects into customers and customers into repeat customers. We do this every day in an ever changing and challenging marketplace. In short, we are just like you. Maybe a bit bigger, but in the end — our success is rooted in the same things as your success.

We work hard every day trying to anticipate what you’ll need to market and grow your business, so you don’t have to. I will always look forward to your thoughts and ideas on how to make small businesses more successful.

If you can spare a couple minutes, we’d love for you to share your feedback here: www.constantcontact.com/reviews.

Thanks for taking the time today to learn about our promise to deliver great marketing tools.

Best of luck!