Building strong customer relationships is the name of the game for any business, but it’s especially important for small businesses. A loyal fan base could mean life or death – and at stake are your dreams! Investing in strategies that create lasting bonds with customers can go a long way towards building success. So don’t wait: creating smiles all around should be part of your company mission statement!
Looking to build relationships with your customers that are based on trust and mutual benefit? Want to make sure they keep coming back, satisfied with your services every time? Here’s a few simple rules of thumb for keeping the sweet smiles beaming from both sides!
Great communication with your customers
Any good relationship is based on honest and open communication. So it’s important to have the best possible channels for two-way communication, feedback and promotion. Talking directly to customers, and allowing them to communicate with you, opens up a dialogue and gets a conversation started. And when customers are willing to have that conversation, you can be confident that they’ll be open to your marketing, emails and other points of contact.
Key ways to achieve this could include:
- Make use of the full range of digital channels – some customers will check out your website before making a purchase. Others will follow your updates on social media. Some will prefer email newsletters and updates. Find out what they prefer and use the channels that have the best feedback, engagement and conversation rates.
- Put some effort into your social media channels – social media platforms are a great way to communicate directly with your customer base. But you need to make the time to post regularly, reply to queries and respond to praise (and criticism too).
- Know your customers inside out – where possible, getting to know your customers face-to-face is invaluable. Digital channels are incredibly useful, but they can’t replace chatting with your customers in person. Hold customer events, go to trade conferences and ask your team to represent your brand in a friendly and engaging way.
Ask for feedback and comments
For your products/service and customer experience to improve, you need honest feedback. Ask for feedback on your delivery, your customer service, waiting times and prices etc. And, crucially, find out how you can do better. The root of any product development lies in knowing what your customers want, and how their needs are evolving. If you can gather those opinions and information from your end users, that’s invaluable data on which to base your decisions. For selling a physical product, ask the customer to answer a few quick questions when completing their warranty details online. If you’re selling a service, then follow up any project with a ‘How did we do?’ survey that asks for high-level feedback on their experience. The more you ask, the more you will know – and that knowledge really is power in the business world.
Keep customers in the loop with new developments
When you’re starting your next round of product development, stop for a moment and think about who this product is for and how it relates to customer relationships. Ultimately, you’re designing and evolving something to meet the specific needs of a certain customer demographic. So, who better to ask about the direction of your updated product or service? Talk to the end user and ask them what they want.
As a business, it’s very easy to get lost in the internal, in-house viewpoint of your development. A new idea could result in what’s seen as an excellent new product feature – but have you asked the end user if they want this feature? Aiming for a positive customer experience (CX) and meeting your customers’ needs should ALWAYS be your core aim. So get your end users involved in the development process and your beta testing of products.
Reward your best customers with perks and benefits
We all like to know that our custom is valued, especially when it comes to customer relationships. When you form an attachment to a brand, and give the company your hard-earned cash, you want to know that this is appreciated. One way to make your customers feel valued in this way is to offer them perks and benefits – something that only your long-term customers will have access to.
This could mean:
- Giving valued customers early access to new products or services
- Offering customers a healthy discounts on purchases, or giving away freebies
- Introducing an ‘Introduce a friend’ scheme, where the introducing customer gets a gift or reward
- Running events for existing customers to build on their feelings of community
The more you can do to make each and every customer feel special, the more chance you have of building a great relationship – and turning these people into raving fans for your brand.
Wrapping things up
Strengthening your customer relationships reaps huge rewards in the long run! It’s all about making sure you keep communication strong, get feedback and comments frequently, make them aware of new developments as they come up — oh yes and don’t forget to shower those best customers with some extra love. Putting in the effort now will definitely pay off down the line – no doubt about that 🙂
Looking after your customers with kindness and gratitude is the key to securing lasting success. After all, without loyal customers by your side what would be left of your business? Put energy into building relationships – it will pay off in spades over time!