Customer relationships are the foundation of many businesses. Being able to build lasting customer relationships is an extensive process that takes time and effort. You can optimize your customer relationship strategies by using a range of tactics to make customer satisfaction a priority.
In this article, we review the importance of customer relationships and share key methods for developing lasting, profitable connections with customers.
What is a customer relationship?
Customer relationships are the connections that a company forms with a customer through interactions and purchases. A business's marketing, branding and business policies can all have an impact on how customers view their relationship with the company. Customer relationships can help businesses form sentimental connections and trust with their customers to promote long-term growth.
Benefits of strong customer relationships
Good customer relationships are a critical part of having a successful business. They're important because they set the tone for how existing and future customers think about a business and its products. Some of the benefits of strong customer relationship are:
- Promoting stability: Companies rely on their customer relationships to build a loyal base of consumers that they can rely on to make purchases. Knowing that you have good relationships with your customers can help you be confident income projections and invest in ways to expand.
- Word-of-mouth advertising: Having a good relationship with your customers can encourage them to share their positive experiences with others and introduce your brand to new customers.
- More purchases: Good customer relationships often lead to customers staying with your company for a long time, making more purchases and spending more money as time goes on. Increasing the lifetime value of each customer by growing strong relationships is a great way to get the highest return on the investment you made to attract each customer.
13 strategies to develop and optimize customer relationships
Here are 13 techniques you can use to build lasting customer relationships to grow your business and reputation:
1. Understand the customer journey
To have good customer relationships, you first need to know about the customer's actions and thought processes during the buying process. Having a customer journey map that details each step of the sales funnel and addresses a customer's thoughts at every stage can help you empathize with the customer's experience and anticipate their needs.
2. Introduce yourself to the customer
In an increasingly automated world, customers appreciate being to talk to a real person in sales and customer service situations. Give customers a direct contact number for a front-facing staff member, and sign all communications with the name of a real employee. Taking the time to introduce yourself to the consumer on a personal basis is a great way to form genuine connections.
3. Survey customers to measure satisfaction
Customers appreciate when the businesses they buy from listen to their ideas, complains and comments. Implement surveys throughout all customer interactions to learn how they feel about a company's products and customer service. Embed a survey onto your website, send automatic emails requesting feedback and request reviews to discover more about what customers value and listen to suggestions about how to improve customer satisfaction.
4. Implement CRM software tools
Using customer relationship management (CRM) software to help manage data and track communications can allow you to provide better, more engaged service to customers. By using software to manage administrative tasks, your team can focus more on connecting with customers in an authentic way.
5. Market your customer service perks
Start advertising your company as a business that values the customer to spread awareness of your brand and create a company culture that emphasizes a commitment to consumers. Using your excellent customer service as a marketing tool attracts customers who also value high-quality, attentive service. Emphasize offerings like a 24/7 customer service line, a responsive app or loyalty rewards to attract customers that enjoy building a connection with particular barns
6. Match customer habits
Make it easier to have relationships with customers by using the same types of technology and communication channels that they do. Research how your customers tend to shop and spend their time, then make your brand accessible in those spaces. You can create company profiles on the social media sites your target audience uses the most to make it easy for customers to find you and reach out.
7. Respond right away
One of the most important steps of starting and maintaining a customer relationship is being responsive and communicative. When customers can trust that you'll reply to their needs right away, they have an incentive to keep using your services and build a long-term relationship. Strive to respond to messages from customers as quickly as possible to engage them before they get distracted or move on to a competitor. Set policies guaranteeing a response within a certain time frame and always try to be faster than that time.
8. Set consistent quality controls
To have good customer relationships, they need to be satisfied with your products and services. Having strict quality standards ensures that customers receive consistent quality every time they do business with your company. Setting up quality assurance policies gives you the opportunity to prevent any issues before they impact the customer, presenting a reliable, positive image to all clients.
9. Follow up regularly
It's normal for customer engagement to fluctuate over time, which is why following up is a great strategy for balancing long-term customer relationships. If a customer hasn't made a purchase in a while, reach out to ask about any services they could use in the near future. This can help you prevent customers from switching to a competitor by reminding them of the positive connection they already have with your business.
10. Personalize all communications
Personalizing communications with customers by calling them by name is a simple and effective strategy for developing customer relationships. You can use mailing list software to automatically fill in customer names in form emails, or add extra customization by writing personal letters to clients. Customers often appreciate getting personalized attention and feel more attached to brands that interact with them on a personal level.
11. Keep detailed customer files
Show customers that you care by referencing their customer files and account information during interactions. Keeping detailed records on customer interactions can allow you to reference previous purchases, efficiently respond to customer service tickets and look for patterns in customer behavior. By recording information about each interaction you have with your customers, you can quickly reference a customer's experiences with your brand and even build a sense of nostalgia with them.
12. Find ways to reward loyalty
Loyalty programs are an effective tool for improving customer relationships. When customers have an incentive to keep making purchases from your company, they can be more motivated to be loyal to your brand. You can also make customers feel valued by sending extra gifts and discounts after large orders or a certain number of years of being a consistent customer.
13. Communicate with affirming language
When talking to customers, use words and phrases that empathize with their experience and point of view. Using affirming language makes the customer feel comfortable and allows them to build trust with company associates. Treating the customer like a priority and validating their experience as a consumer shows them that you're committed to their satisfaction and value them as a long-term customer.