As a small business owner you will be more than aware that customer relationships are key to success. The way you work and communicate with your customers can build long-lasting, meaningful relationships that turn clients into fans, and fans into clients. Here are eight proven and trusted ways to build lasting customer relationships.
1. Show Them That You Know Them
The more research you do into the needs and desires of your target audience, the more your audience will be able to tell that you’re interested in them. When you show interest in them, it will make them interested in your business and you. When you discover something about your audience, let them know through your content and your actions.
2. Treat Them Right
It’s so easy to focus sales and special events on acquiring new clients. But what about the clients we already have? Keeping them is far more important than getting a new client, and less costly too. Do something special for your existing client base or fan base that shows them that you care about them. Give them a discount, or a special freebie, or something else that attaches them to you in a special way.
3. Be Transparent and Honest
One way to endear yourself to your audience is to always be transparent and honest. If you make a mistake, own up to it. If you change your views on something, it’s okay to admit it. Doing so will endear you to your audience and make you appear so much more trustworthy to them.
4. Put People before Numbers
While you do things to help promote your business, it’s important to uphold your values and remember that people are more important than numbers. If you put people first in your business, including yourself, you’ll find that you naturally improve your bottom line. The more people trust you, the more they’ll buy from you.
5. Be Fun When Appropriate
No one wants to feel as if they’re communicating with a robot or someone who is not real. Be funny when it’s appropriate so that you can show your humanity. Your humanness will shine through when you add some humour and fun to posts, emails, and even sales pages.
6. Be Responsive
Your customers expect to get an answer when they have a problem, and they expect a speedy response. Provide many different ways for your audience to contact you. Explain to your audience at each method how long they can expect to wait for a response. Then follow up and do what you said you’d do.
7. Engage with Your Audience
Find ways to engage with your audience. Ask for their advice or ideas when it comes to a new product or service you’re going to launch. They can help name it, help define what should be in it, and even how much you should charge for it. Your audience can also be your best source of word-of-mouth marketing.
8. Consider the Communication Format
Also, it’s important to try to get an understanding of how people communicate within their environment. Communication online in chat, instant message, Twitter, or a blog, is far different from communicating on the telephone or in person. Even email is different from other methods of communication. It’s imperative that you determine what is different and then make up for that with the type of communication they’re using.
Building customer relationships that last is part of the goal of marketing. When you’ve formed an attachment with the consumer, they will stick with you for years - through price increases, trials and tribulations, and more.