Why is it important to build customer relationships?
Well, once you start connecting with customers, not only does it help increase sales, enhance productivity, and create better engagement, it also allows you to build your networks, and boost employee confidence. In fact, you might say customer relationships are the core of your business. No longer is it about finding and selling to your customers, increasingly the long-term success of your business is about the relationships you form.
How can you build better relationships with your customers?
Before looking at improving your customer relationships, it is important to understand what they need from you and your business may change over time. Like all relationships, how you engage with your customers’ needs to evolve, based on where they are on their customer journey (and of course, where you are on your business journey). So, the answer to this question, although not that helpful, depends!
The more sophisticated your client, the more innovative you need to be in your communication and engagement. And it’s important to remember, the relationship you have with your customers is not only based on how they see and connect with you, but how they connect with your team and the communication that you share.
To understand what your customers need, start with an old-fashioned conversation! It is an essential way to not only understand what they need; it enables you to build a connection.
Whether it is online, in person, via Zoom or even email, it’s important to remember that each engagement forms part of a larger conversation with your client – with each piece of information building on the last.
Promoting your business and listening to your customers are both important but different parts of the conversation – before you begin to sell, be sure to ask them what they need (through direct questions in a discover call, to surveys or polls on social media) and when you share about your business, connect it back to them, so they know you are listening.
Tip: Remember, ideal clients likely have similar problems they need solving, so your communication should be personal and relatable to them, focusing on what you can solve.
As your business grows, and you employ, be sure to teach them your company language and style, so they know how to engage with the customers.
Tip: Don’t wait for customer service to become a problem, proactively engage with your customers, such as birthday messages on Facebook or Messenger, a shoutout on Instagram or a note in the mail.
“What about rapport” I hear you say?
Yup, it is important as it is the basis of a sincere relationship with your customers. Establishing rapport helps put your brand front of mind and creates a deeper connection that goes beyond the product or service they buy, fostering loyalty to the brand. Rapport enables you to build trust between you and helps create raving fans – those customers ready and waiting to purchase your next new thing, promote you to a friend or advocate your services.
Tip: Rapport is all about creating common ground, so your goal is to find shared interests, connect over shared values or mission, or alignment of need.
And don’t forget feedback!
While we don’t always want to hear it, customer feedback is necessary for business success, whether it is good or bad. Feedback helps the business grow, so make sure you are listening when it’s offered! Don’t wait for customers to provide their feedback, be proactive. Understanding what is working for your customer (and what’s not) will ensure you can continue to meet their needs and understand their wants, and help you develop the right solution to their problems.
Whether it’s a compliment or a complaint, feedback provides fuel for business innovations, the spark for a new product, and can help you deliver your service better.
Tip: Do not ask for feedback if you won’t address the concerns! If your customer has shared with you their views, even if it doesn’t align with yours, use it as an opportunity to reflect and grow. Feedback is simply Fuel for the business.
To improve your brand engagement and provide more reasons for your customers to interact and connect with you, start with looking at your relationships.
The tips and strategies above will help you to improve your relationships and provide a strong foundation that will help you grow your business.
While every business is different, good customer relationships and experiences encourage happy customers and positive feedback will always be the foundation of a successful business. Trust the process. Learn from it.