Fast service doesn’t always earn you the top spot on a customer’s VIP list. With endless content running on social media, TV, radio and, Internet searches, consumers are experts in discerning real from fake. Authenticity – a personal touch – is the top strategy that keeps customers loyal to your brand.

Authenticity is king
In a Stackla study, 1,590 consumers were surveyed, and 90 percent said authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support. Sixty-seven percent said it was important for brands to provide personalized experiences.

Authenticity is about truth, integrity, passion and purpose. It should be the foundation for any strategy to connect with your customers. This action is more than a mission statement. It is an action plan for how you want customers to see YOU and your product or services. Of course, a great deal is still important, but today’s customers want to know what you value and how those beliefs are woven in the fabric of your organization.

Use your story to connect with customers
One of the first steps in authenticity is storytelling. How does your service or product impact customers directly? What problems does it solve? What is the passion driving your team each day to give 100 percent to customer service? Don’t be afraid to get personal. It’s a story that you own and separates your business from competitors. The authenticity will shine through because the message is focused on your “why.”

Make it easy for customers to engage
Some of the most popular brands not only personalize their messaging but engage with customers. Social media platforms and email campaigns offer opportunities to connect with customers about their personal experiences with your business.

That VIP customer experience also includes the tools available to respond to questions. Is it easy to access your team in the office, after hours, or on social media? Remember, customers want a fast response, millennials in particular. Thanks to online shopping giants like Amazon and Zappos with rapid, personalized response systems, customers expect the same level of communication from all businesses. Research from McKinsey & Co reports 25 percent of customers will move on from a company after one bad experience.

Whether you choose to receive responses by email or phone or both, be sure messages are checked daily to ensure customer questions are addressed promptly. That also includes social media and Google reviews.

Ready to elevate your brand? Schedule a meeting with Fuel VM to discuss our approach to customer engagement.