5 Ways to Build Better Relationships with Your Customers
11 Nov 2015
Retaining customers has always been one of the most basic preoccupations of any business striving for excellence, but today, when competition is heavier, and indeed denser than it was ever before, the fight for mind and soul of every single customer became equally as fierce. The fact that competition usually pours huge amounts of money in their marketing departments does not make things brighter, either. Still, as much as it is true that fire has to be fought with fire we have to point out that advertising alone is capable of producing only short-term effects. As a matter of fact, according to recent surveys primary driver behind repeated businesses are loyalty programs (10%) and established relationship with customer base (57%), and the average repeat customer usually spends 67% more than a first-time buyer. It is, therefore, very easy to observe why numerous businesses are paying more and more attention to CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Here we will give you five tips that should help you to utilize this favorable trend and increase your ROI by strengthening relationship with your customer base.
Clear the Communication Channels
Your customers and clients want to be listened, so you should pay attention to what they have to say. The fact that your customer base is approached and communicated with only when you want to sell something is bad on itself. If you, however, on top of that deny your customers the legit right to file a complaint or seek additional info regarding some business-related topic, you will quickly transform their dissatisfaction in the plain frustration. Keep this in mind – your customers and clients always have to feel welcomed, regardless of whether they are giving you a positive or a negative feedback. If anything, you should appreciate the objective feedback even more than the worthless flattering. So, do your best to keep the communication channels between you and your customers as clear as possible, and open new ones so people are able to approach you even easier.
Reward the Loyal Customers
Rewarding loyal customers is probably as old as the commerce itself, but recently, this way of saying “thank you” to everyone who keeps visiting your premises is gaining much attention. According to CRM/Unified Commerce Survey the number of North American retailers utilizing gamification within the loyalty programs has rose from 6% to 31% since the last year. The main reason behind this resurgence is that it is, essentially a very viable marketing tool, whose efficiency can be easily measured, which makes it useful both for customers and for you. To make things even better, loyalty rewards do not require the engagement of some huge external resources, so they can be pulled off even on a smaller scale. As for the rewards, they can be anything ranging from a visa gift card to simple discount on the product or a service your organization is already providing.
Treat Every Customer as the Most Important One
The word of mouth is the best and in the same time the most efficient add you can ever get. Now, playing along with some client’s desires and taste will help you to start this essential marketing engine, but if you leave even one of the cracks in its hull opened it will quickly break, or even worse – explode in your face. Therefore, it is very important to treat every single customer the same way some of the Fortune 500 businesses treats their top clients. You can never be sure whom some of them may know and what kind of info they are spreading about your organization. Even if they are not personally affected, they can witness something they do not like and shatter your reputation afterwards. In order to avoid this, introduce a consistent decency in the human-to human communication and do your best to reward your customers with small perks (for example child care while parents are buying) to keep them in the good mood.
Solve Customer’s Problems
Depending of the type of the business you are running or the type of service you are providing, you should do your best to help your customers in solving all the business-related problems, for free if possible. Reasons behind this are twofold. First benefit you will get is, obviously, that you will tie the customers even closer to your organization and boost the positive word of mouth. If you offer them some free advice or some minor service that does not require too much time or resources, you will present yourself as a much more trustworthy partner than the competitors who are charging such things. The second and the less obvious reason behind such modus operandi is that you will prevent your customers from wandering, and make your business a go-to place for all the problems within the niche.
Share Your Expertise For Free
In its nature this course of action is very similar to what we mentioned in the previous paragraph, but achieving the goal will, in this case, require more proactive stance. Essentially, instead of waiting for customers to seek your advice, you will have to ask for their attention by offering your expertise in advance. As the time goes by, you will notice the patterns of your customers’ problems, interests and behaviors, and you will have a very clear picture what kind of content you should provide them. Considering the fact that US citizens alone conduct staggering 20.3 billion searches each month, we would say, that blogging and the online approach are the most sensible. Not only you will get used your customers to regularly visit your website; blogging will also drastically improve your search engine ranking. Using your otherwise shallow newsletter for more content-driven email marketing is very efficient way for improving the customer relationship too.
As the time goes by, and the marketing trends come and go, it seems that returning to the basics may be the most original and the most efficient approach you can take. Building up your follower base by improving the customer relationship and letting them to do the marketing instead of you will certainly stand out in this over saturated business world we are working in.