4 tips to foster good customer relationships

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

The loyalty of your customers is central to the success of your business. According to data from Hootsuite, businesses have a 60 to 70 percent chance of selling again to an existing customer. Compare this to the fact that the likelihood of selling to a new customer is between 15 and 20 percent and you begin to understand why so many businesses are focused on current clients. Maintaining customer relationships, if done correctly, can massively boost your business and the number of sales it makes. Below are four tips to foster good customer relationships.

  1. Be Authentic With Your Customers:  It’s imperative in business to make sure that your company has a genuine persona. The last thing people want is to get involved with a company that doesn’t have integrity as one of its core values. Plus, people can smell a dishonest business from a mile off. Integrity is often hard to do. Sometimes you won’t be able to meet your clients’ needs. Often you’ll have to break the news to your customers that you’re not able to do what they’ve asked you to do. In these situations, the best things to do is to provide an honest answer. At least with an honest answer, your customers always know where they stand, even if they don’t like the answer you’ve given. It’s worth remembering that most clients will have a lot of respect for your business if you’re able to admit when you’re not able to do something. Customers realize how painful those admissions can be, and so even though it might seem like a bad thing, not meeting a client’s needs, it can actually turn out to be a good thing in the long-term.
  2. Listen Intently To What Your Customers Have To Say:  Thanks to the internet, it’s now easier than ever to listen to what your customers have to say, and even companies that weren’t traditionally online are now using internet-based tools to learn from their customers. Take Comcast, the large cable TV provider. For years the company has languished when it comes to customer service, mainly thanks to the fact that it was the only service available to consumers in many areas. But with the rise of Netflix and other internet services, all of a sudden it has found itself losing customers left, right and center. Now it’s asking customers to complete a Comcast Xfinity survey to learn about their opinions and what it can do better in the future. Obviously, you don’t want your company to end up in the mess that Comcast is in right now. But their experience proves a point: even the largest businesses eventually have to listen to their customers if they’re going to retain their business. Reach out to customers over social media and online, and get them to fill out email surveys or Twitter polls. Make the polls simple and quick (less than five questions) OR reward customers for filling out longer surveys. You’ll quickly find out what they do and don’t like about your service, enabling you to tailor the experience.
  3. Support Customers Success:  Primrose Raw is a health food take-out business that serves smoothies, salads and soups. It’s a life-affirming establishment intended to improve the health and longevity of its customers. Unlike many takeaway businesses, it’s mission is to transform customers’ lives, whether that’s helping them to defeat disease, lose weight or feel healthier and have more energy. In other words, it wants to support customers and make them successful. Primrose Raw’s example is important for every business. When the goals of the company are aligned with the aims of the client, it’s far easier to maintain a relationship. Customers keep coming back to the business because it offers them a way to reach their goals that would be difficult without it. All companies can take this tack, especially if they are based on repeat customers.
  4. Keep In Touch: Finally, just as with any friendship, it’s important to keep in touch. Your customers will, on the whole, have very busy lives and so they might not always have the time to give you feedback or even think about your business in their daily lives. That’s why things like emails and text messages serve and important reminders that you exist and that you’re willing to help them. Staying in touch with your customers, by offering them deals or discounts or just updating them on what you’re doing, keeps you at the forefront of their minds. The more times they see your brand name, the more likely they are to come to you when they need your services.
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