Gilt Groupe Engages, Gains Built-To-Last Customer Relationships
If you’ve shopped on the Gilt website, you may know where this is going. If you haven’t, you should know what they’re doing that has their customers working for them. After several purchases, it’s clear to me that the Gilt team is laying the ground work for a seriously sustained future with their customers. They’re putting in the time and work that many companies avoid or don’t understand, to give their customers what they want, when they want it and where they want it.
Here are some ways they ensure you are coming back again and again!
- They ensure easy shipping, easy returns (akin to Zappos)
- They communicate regularly through social networks with their customers, in real-time, ensuring engagement and visibility (check out customer interactions here @GiltGroupe, @GiltSupport)
- They encourage and facilitate sharing not only with them, but with customers’ friends
- They “Don’t love it if you don’t”…which really reinforces their care for customers and ensures future purchases
- They’re early adopters of mobile and killin’ it
- They’re partnering with companies like Klout and Infiniti as well as designers to do new and exciting things all the time
In return, some of these customers have turned into Gilt Groupe evangelists, singing their praises on social networks and in conversations everywhere. Those who understand the value of engagement would probably give their marketing budgets for this kind of authentic and consistent exchange with customers. It cannot be faked, isn’t about getting to a million followers and will do more than you can ever imagine for your brand-specifically in the long run.
I see and hear this preoccupation with numbers way too often. Brands are frustrated with social media and deeply concerned about gaining followers, fans and likes. They turn to automation and other tools to ramp up their efforts and before you know it, they have hundreds, if not thousands of irrelevant, apathetic fans who will never be evangelists for their brands-never mind end up sales. (But that’s a whole other post!) Gilt seems to understand how invaluable direct customer conversation on a regular basis is, similar to Sephora who also serves as a good model for innovating not only great, but also relevant customer experience.
Some may say the Gilt team is wasting their time and resources. I would argue that they’re really just executing ‘#custserv 101′ in emerging channels. It’s simple really, if your customers are reaching out, you need to be there to answer them. I would also add that while ROI isn’t immediate in some cases, with every conversation or outreach, you’re making an investment in your own brand that will perhaps pay off later, but with a high return.
This kind of mutually beneficial customer relationship is achieved when your customers are on your priority list-preferably at the top. It happens when you ensure you’re present in the channels they are. It happens by evolving through their needs (which includes their use of social media and other emerging tools). After all, you exist and thrive or dive because of them and their needs and wants.