15 Ways to Win Business by Building Better Customer Relationships
Yes, Seth, we agree that your best customers are far more valuable than your average ones. And you get the best by continuously building better customer relationships, don’t you? Think about the process of developing and managing customers’ individual relationships with your firm – through the Web site, a loyalty program, the contact center, at the point of purchase, or in after-sale service. All take continuous attention to detail.
Your best customers are worth far more than your average customers.
Business is a “people activity” … people like to do business with people they know, like, and trust. Ones with whom they have relationships are at the top of the desirable business option list. The stronger the relationships with your customers, the greater will be their trust and loyalty in your business.
Before we continue, let me ask you a question.
What works best for winning customers in your business? We would love to hear what it was. Would you do us a favor and post it in the comments section below? Be the one who starts a conversation.
With the advent of the Internet, the number of marketing options available to both budding and experienced entrepreneurs has become staggering.
Studies show time, and again, your best and most loyal customers are the aptest to tell their friends about your business, creating strong word of mouth marketing. Word of mouth marketing is the most important element of any marketing campaign.
Making new friends is becoming the most important element of social commerce. Creating positive experiences for building customer relationships often will take some serious thinking. But hopefully not at the expense of the things you can do to build customer relationships.
So there are many important reasons to focus on building strong customer relationships. Here are eight tips to help you forge new, and strengthen existing, relationships:
Better customer relationships … identify customers
Do this on an individual basis, as you can’t have a relationship with an audience or a population. So before you start relationships, you must target your priority customers. You don’t have to have each customer’s name and address, but you need to know that the customer on the phone right now is the same one who was in the store yesterday, or on your Web site the day before that.
Acknowledge that I am there
As soon as you possibly can. Don’t make your customers frustrated by making them wait. If you are busy with another customer, inform them you will be with there shortly.
Smile and introduce yourself. Have a nametag and personalize it to help create meaningful conversation.
All customers are different from each other, regarding both their value to your business and what they need from your business. What a customer needs from you will drive behaviors that you can observe. And behaviors will create (or destroy) value. So pay close attention.
Techniques to build customer relationships … be knowledgeable
Know all about your products and services. Always assume customers have done their homework and product research. If you don’t know, DON’T BLUFF, but do offer to do some research. If you don’t have a product or service that can solve their problem, recommend someone else’s product if you can.
Offer free resources, information, and solutions … with no strings attached.
Use your knowledge and experience to help customers decide. Help them in their search. Pushy sales pitches turn customers off. But personally relevant and interactive conversations switch them on.
Interact with customers. Almost by definition, a relationship depends on some engagement between two parties. You want those interactions to be cost-efficient, so drive more and more interactions into more efficient channels. But you also want them to be effective — that is, to tell you something about their needs or value, for instance, that you can’t learn simply by observing. Make customers feel important. Create conversation … seek out common interests by asking effective questions.
Hear and remember the ‘remarkable’ for their next visit. Make sure you understand their question(s). Then answer them as simply as possible.
Help them save time
Time is the customers most valued passion. Help them save it. Avoid seeking other help, or ‘handing them off’.
Be easy to work with
Exceed expectations whenever you can. If your business doesn’t have what the customer wants, offer alternatives, including other businesses.
If you don’t know, say so. But use that question to research so as to be prepared next time. You don’t want to be saying you don’t know often.
How to build strong relationships with customers … always do what you say
Do what you say and keep your promises.
Follow through promptly
Keep them informed until you can close. Remember time is of the essence.
Building great relationships … tell the truth
Always tell the truth with no hidden agendas and ulterior motives. Marketing puffery is not the truth. Remember consumers are very educated on products and services.
The “pay off step” for managing a customer relationship comes when your business behaves differently toward each customer. We call this “customization” even though we’re not necessarily talking about it regarding literally customizing the product or service. But whenever I treat Customer A different from Customer B, based on what I think I know about their differences, I am “customizing” the customer’s treatment.
These are not things that we do not already know, of course.
These little things list simply reminds us of what we already know but may have forgotten. Then it is up to us to put these lessons of building customer relationships into daily use through persistence and practice.
Remember … all customer-facing employees need to be engaged in customer relationship building.
Does your business focus on relationship building? Do you have any stories to share?
Customers, any adders to this list?
Businesses, do you refresh this list with your staff frequently?
So what’s the conclusion? The conclusion is there is no conclusion. There is only the next step. And that next step is completely up to you.
It’s up to you to keep improving winning new customers by relationship building. Lessons are all around you. In many situations, your competitor may be providing the ideas and or inspiration. But the key is in knowing that it is within you already.
All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new lessons.
When things go wrong, what’s most important is your next step.
Try. Learn. Improve. Repeat.
Need some help in building better customer trust from your customer experiences? Creative ideas to help grow your customer relationships?
Call today for a FREE consultation or a FREE quote. Learn about some options to scope your job and pay for results.
Call Mike at 607-725-8240.
All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new ideas to make your customer experiences better.
When things are not what you want them to be, what’s most important is your next step. Call today.
Are you devoting enough energy to improving your continuous learning for yourself and your team?
Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change. We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.
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