Building lasting relationships with customers to increase repeat business should be at the forefront of any brand. Without lifelong loyalty, a small business can fail in a fast-moving world full of competition.
So, how do you start and sustain a successful business through customer experience?
Luckily, we have all the answers to help you improve your customer relationship building efforts and ensure you reach your clients on a more personalised level than ever before!
1. Communicate Clearly
Clear communication can make or break your chances of building a lasting relationship. After all, if you don’t take the time to fully understand your client’s concerns, how can you advise a rational solution?
So, instead of waiting for client communication to become an issue, invest in your customers from Day One.
Let’s say you own a beauty store. If you take the time to analyse your client’s type of skin issues and what they are currently using, you will be able to advise a beneficial routine using products that they can purchase from your store.
This kind of communication will usually result in a return customer, as you are far more than a store that simply sells products; instead, you’re an entrepreneur that understands your clients’ needs and who helps make their lives a little better.
2. Exceed all Their Expectations
Where most businesses go wrong is when they overpromise but undersell. This is common in all types of industries; the camera battery that is set to last eight hours (but cuts out at six), the tour that is meant to be a tailored experience (but is the same as any bog-standard excursion) or the toothbrush that gets rid of 100 times more plaque (but fails to live up to expectations).
The point here is that you shouldn’t claim to do something unless you can exceed the bar that you are setting. If you can, add in additional surprises to enhance the user experience, like free samples or complementary chocolates.
3. Deliver within Your Deadline
If you’ve given a set deadline, it’s essential that you deliver well within it. For example, if you offer delivery in five to seven working days, try fulfilling their order in three to four days, instead – and you can effectively guarantee a satisfied customer.
If you don’t, you’ll end up leaving a bitter taste in your customer’s mouth and will end up spending a lot more time and resources trying to make up for it. For big businesses, this won’t leave much of a dent in the budget, but for small companies, it can be increasingly harder to offer freebies to resolve small issues.
4. Gather Feedback
Customer feedback helps you hone your business and discover ways that you can develop your brand. It enables you to address any problems and come up with solutions by changing some of your strategies.
There are many ways to do this. You can conduct a survey, for example, or leave a suggestion box in your store or place comment cards on the till counter with an incentive, like a discount on their next visit. By doing so, you might identify issues that you weren’t even aware of and then address them to create a better service for the user.
5. Connect with Them on Social Media
Another great way to gather feedback and maintain long-term relationships is through social media. You should always interact with clients online and thank them for their opinion, whether it’s negative or positive, while addressing any concerns.
You can also conduct customer relationship management through your social profiles. For example, you could share industry news, promote new products, answer questions and connect through ‘likes’ and comments. When you’re responsive, more people are likely to invest in your brand, as you have initially invested your time in them.
6. Show Your Appreciation
A great way of giving back to your customers is through a loyalty programme to help boost revenue and your relationship with them. You can also set different tiers, so the more they spend, the more benefits they receive.
You can then continue to offer valuable discounts and promotions according to their spending methods. For example, if you’re an online store and can see a client placing items in their bag but not purchasing, then why not offer them a coupon code to give them an incentive to make the purchase?
7. Offer Personalisation
Once you’ve established that initial rapport, you need to try and retain it, and a great way of doing that is through personalisation. Use web analytics to identify your client’s spending habits to help you personalise the content that you are sending them. This can include relevant offers, inside information on the latest products and advice on how they can maximise the use of their account.
Don’t focus solely on trying to get money out of your client. It’s a two-way relationship, so little gestures like a message on their birthday can go a long way – especially if you’re a smaller business.
8. Adapt to Your Clients’ Attitude
Some clients simply don’t have the time of day to listen to you ramble on about one thing or another (even if you are trying to be helpful), while others want all the advice they can get. Therefore, when running a business, it’s important to understand different personalities and adapt to their different attitudes.
If you can see they are irritable, it’s best not to over shower them with attention, but if they are asking questions, they probably want your expert advice. This is especially important in online sales; indeed, the way you handle a call can completely change the opinion of the person on the receiving end.
9. Be Truthful
The essence of a strong relationship mostly relies on trust, and trust is formed when people are truthful with one and other. Sometimes an honest answer is more important than a quick sale – the client will appreciate your honesty and will choose you next time they are seeking similar services.
Never withhold the truth from clients, as it will only damage your reputation! By openly expressing your personal opinion, you’ll be respected and are likely to gain a loyal client.
10. Build Individual Relationships
Depending on your line of work, it’s good practice to build individual relationships with clients. This is easy if you work on a shop floor or handle certain accounts and deal with the same clients all the time.
For example, I once worked with an agent who I built such a good rapport with. She would always call me when she had a client that needed my services, and we would end up talking about our weekend plans and where we lived, we shared photos of our pets – you name it! Naturally, I wanted to impress her by taking extra care of her clients, and she would always come to me when she needed my expert knowledge.
11. Be Positive
When dealing with business, there’s no room for bad attitudes. When you’re facing clients, it’s important to push your personal issues aside and put on a friendly face. Even if negativity is being thrown your way, you shouldn’t retaliate and stoop to a lower level!
This also means that you shouldn’t engage in any gossip. You want your brand name to be clean, so you avoid badmouthing a competitor or another customer, as it will only put them off doing business with you again in the future.
12. Be Timely
In today’s digital world, clients expect instant answers – they don’t want to wait 24 hours to hear back from a customer service representative who will then take another three days to solve the issue.
To make sure that you’re able to respond promptly, take your communication viral by allowing clients to contact you through social platforms like Messenger and igDM. This little trick is a great way of maintaining customer relationships.
By following these handy tips, you’ll be able to solidify your relationship with your existing clients, develop strong connections with new customers and take your business to new heights!
Let us know how you build strong relationships with your clients by leaving a comment below!