In today’s market, there’s a choice for every product. You alone do not hold a monopoly on your product – there are likely hundreds of in-person and online vendors selling products similar, if not the same. So much competition means that customer loyalty is more important than ever. For a business to be sustained and stay viable, the customer must always come first. Keeping them happy and returning for more is the ultimate goal for any business.
Several studies have shown that repeat customers buy significantly more on their visit than first-time customers. Repeat customers are also more likely to recommend you to someone close to them. In our current environment of increasing competition, building relationships with customers has now been brought into the spotlight and businesses are focusing a lot more of their attention on the matter.
Customers are real people with feelings and emotions – they are not nameless faces on the Internet, nor are they faceless voices on the phone. For a business, each customer is a distinct individual who matters. Establishing connections and allowing for relationships to grow through connecting on a deeper level will keep customers coming back for more. But with so many customers and so little time, how do we establish these meaningful connections?
Show Your Customers Respect
Each customer is a distinct individual who matters; not one more than the other, but all of equal importance. As a business owner, your goal should be to understand and respect what makes your customers unique. Creating this understanding and respect creates a solid foundation to enhance customer relationships.
In order for your customers to warm to you, you must show sincerity and be respectful to them and their needs. Conducting yourself in a friendly and professional manner will help you gain their respect and begin to create a meaningful business-customer relationship.
Share Your Knowledge
Customers appreciate informative advice, so if you are able to display your knowledge and expertise in your field, there is every chance they will begin to appreciate and trust you. Sharing your knowledge through online platforms, social media, and in-person are all great ways to connect with customers and begin to build trust and form relationships.
Respond to Customer Queries
A customer’s query immediately answered makes for a happy, and likely returning customer. It is good practice to have a process in place to collect customer feedback and a way to log not only complaints, but also how you and your company respond to issues as they are reported so this can be replicated if the issue ever arises again.
This is not only the case for negative feedback. Businesses should also pay close attention to positive feedback. Not only do positive comments help tell a company what they are doing right but they also encourage others to take notice of them.
Everyone likes to be rewarded, and your customers are no different! Rewards offered to a select group of customers, such as frequently returning customers, make people feel special and appreciated. A common way of providing rewards is through customer loyalty programs. Not only does a loyalty program provide a practical, hard reason for continuing to buy (the accumulation of points towards a reward, or higher level of service) but it also provides information about the customers that allows their needs to be met more efficiently and effectively.
Rewarding existing customers for their continued loyalty will not only increase retention but also increase the number of new customers your business brings in. This will occur through positive feedback from existing customers and eye-catching loyalty deals, which will draw them in. Examples of reward programs businesses often utilize include loyalty programs, offering discounts on selected lines, point rewards, and giving away free items with multiple purchases.
Be Active on Social Media
Social media is a big deal in today’s day and age – it seems like everyone is active on at least one platform. This boom in online connectivity provides the opportunity for businesses to use social media as a tool. This tool has become one of the most important marketing tools for many businesses. It allows you to connect with your customers on various levels that they enjoy using. Social media, if used properly, can also ensure that no one can forget your business – how can they when they are seeing your product and/or name on their feeds every time they log in and scroll!
Social networks are a great way to stay in touch with customers and build relationships. Through social media we get a front-row seat into the latest developments of our customers’ lives and in doing so can begin to measure their needs. Facebook and Twitter are traditionally the most popular tools for businesses to interact through social media, but newer platforms like Instagram and TikTok are quickly making their way to the main stage. Utilizing a mix of several of these platforms will ensure that you are reaching the largest customer base possible.
Comments on your business, or mentions in the industry you are in, can be used as valuable feedback and will determine how best to move forward. Frequently update your social media sites to try and garner some feedback and interaction from customers.
Always respond to criticism, don’t simply ignore it. You must show the world you are going to find a solution and are taking steps to eradicate the fault.
A successful networker knows that it is not just what they receive from others but what they give that determines whether solid relationships will be built. The entire purpose of networking is to build solid, trusting relationships–business relationships that are of value to everyone involved.
You want your customers to feel that they are going to obtain something of value from your service. Networking will grow your business, attract long-lasting business associates, and develop a solid referral base for your business.
Now that you have the tools, go out there are build some strong, meaningful, and lasting customer relationships!