What is the key to building lasting customer relationships? Every business owner realizes that clients are, in fact, the key to having a thriving and booming enterprise, regardless of size. As you probably have guessed, clients tend to use the services they like the most, which brings out a few questions that need to be answered. How can that important customer connection be achieved? What actually makes the clients happy? Let’s find out.
What does customer relations mean?
Happy customers are the key to a successful business. After all, if a person is satisfied with goods or services, he will return to the company again and recommend it to his friends - this ensures a constant flow of orders.
In fact, there is no customer relations definition that would work for every single case. It is mostly about being able to retain your customers and attract new ones by establishing a certain pattern in your customer relation strategy. The way you interact, communicate and behave with clients is what defines your customer relations.
This includes, but is not limited to,
- Sympathy towards the client
- Client research
- Great customer support
- Quality product
- Improving and not being afraid to change something that is not working
The importance of customer relations.
The truth is that to make your clients happy you first and foremost need to understand what they actually need. A lot of companies don’t truly realize that the clients are people, who just want to feel special and like to be taken care of. If you are simply able to satisfy your customers’ needs, you are going to make them content, but not exactly happy. The actual magic happens when a client receives a product or service that exceeds every expectation.
As an example, just think about all the times that you personally have been impressed by how quickly Amazon delivered your order, or the amazing ice cream you would get as a kid near the place you lived? Valuable experiences like that stay with your customer forever.
Client-oriented businesses seem to retain their customers seamlessly, grow their revenue and so much more. There should even be a debate about something like customer relations vs customer service, because both are equally linked to what makes an organization thrive.
And remember, investing in your client relations is investing in your business development. Perfection doesn’t exist, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
Then the next logical question would be…
What can you do to improve consumer relationships?
1. Try to help, not just sell
Let's imagine that you are at the dentist’s office for an examination. As a patient, you want to receive a diagnosis and an effective treatment plan. You don’t need your dentist to prescribe an expensive or invasive procedure.
Any person has certain expectations about the quality of the service they’d like to receive. For example, a father calls an online toy store to choose a gift for his daughter. If the sales manager does not want to delve into the needs, but simply offers the most expensive product, it will look insincere. In order for the customer to remain satisfied, it is necessary to provide professional advice and help choose a toy that your kid will definitely like.
Imagine a situation: in a conversation with a client, you realize that you do not have such a product or service that would really solve the person's "pain". In this case, it is worth saying about it directly. Even more, you can always learn from your competition about what is currently in demand. This will build trust in your company, which means there is a high probability that the client will contact you again in the future.
2. Ask for feedback
Receiving bad reviews can be disheartening for anyone. This applies to both public posts on the Internet and private ones, when a client, for example, calls and reports that something is wrong. But in fact, feedback is valuable information, even if it is negative, because it is the cheapest way to find out exactly what can be improved in a business in terms of customer service. After all, having positive customer relations means making customers feel like they get to say what they like and what they don’t. Developing is key to staying relevant, after all.
In 90% of cases, when the client is dissatisfied, they are unlikely to come back. Feedback is mostly used by those who experience anger or frustration excessively acutely - and have the courage to say so directly. In other words, even if you received three bad reviews in a month, it means that you need to improve your services.
So the task of the business is not to repeat the same mistake with every order, but to listen to the feedback and become better. Not in the abstract future, but right now: try to win back a customer who had a negative experience. To do this, understand the problem, apologize and ask how to fix the situation. The person themselves will suggest the best solution: for example, to replace the product or return the money.
Be grateful to your customers for the feedback. If the customer feels that he has been heard and that his criticisms have been listened to, his loyalty will increase, as will the feeling of satisfaction with the communication.
3. Exceed expectations
This advice is a logical continuation of the previous one. After all, to make the client happy after a failure on your part, you will have to make an effort. However, exceeding expectations is a good move even if you think you are on top of your game. When a person receives more than they expect, they will be absolutely delighted. Such cases can serve anyone as customer relationship examples.
If you have an online store, you can add a small gift to your order — for example, put a bracelet to match a woman's sweater. If you provide services such as promotion and advertising, a free consultation can be provided. Another win-win option for any business is discount certificates for future purchases.
4. Consider the context
Context is additional information about the customer that will help improve the level of interaction. This includes understanding why people use your products, what problems they solve, and how exactly your products can help the customer.
Such advertising does not just tell users about the product, but also considers the context: like knowing that raincoast are popular during autumn, because of the bad weather. Good marketing is all about context. You will have little luck selling flip-flops in the middle of winter.
Context might also explain the nature of positive customer relations, as it shows care and dedication to what you do for the clients.
5. Provide different ways of interaction, like customer support
Let's imagine: a client creates a profile on the website of an online store. He entered his name, surname, phone number, date of birth, email and postal address, and clicked the "Register" button. The page was updated, a message appeared on the screen that the phone was specified in the wrong format. The entered information was not saved, you need to do everything again from scratch. How will the customer feel after this? Probably not very happy.
Modern technologies make it possible to solve such problems painlessly: for example, to immediately configure the mask of the desired phone number format, so that the user has no chance to enter it incorrectly. Or check the entered data immediately, without waiting for the page to refresh. Then, in case of one mistake, the client will not have to fill out the entire questionnaire again.
From the business side, it is worth analyzing all the steps of interaction with customers at the expense of such unpleasant surprises. Make sure that everything is clear and convenient for the user at every stage: both when choosing products on the site and when communicating with the sales manager.
It will not be superfluous to develop scripts for telephone dialogues. Sometimes I call a small online store, the manager picks up the phone and answers: "I'm listening." I have to find out for myself if this is the store. I understand that it is probably the owner who is taking calls on his personal number and he does not know whether it is a customer or someone else who is calling him.
For business, it is better to have a separate phone. This will reduce one of the reasons for concern on the part of customers who do not immediately understand whether they have dialed the correct number. This is a trifle, but it is such trifles that form the overall impression of interaction with the company.
6. Inspire good team performance
If you have more than one employee in your company, you should make sure that everyone works together for a common result. So, for example, insufficiently polite behavior of a courier can devalue the painstaking work of a team of marketers and sales managers, because it will spoil the customer's impression of your service. To prevent this from happening, it is worth monitoring the work of all employees. Even those who are not directly responsible for communicating with customers.
It is also crucial that the entire team looks in the eyes of customers as a single whole - representatives of the company.
Let's imagine that the customer ordered a set of exotic fruits, and in the box the hard fruits were replaced by softer ones. The buyer complained to the sales manager that the products were not packed properly. The manager gets emotional, and explains that another team is responsible for the packaging, he is of no use here.
This is the wrong position: such an answer does not offer anything valuable to the customer, and he will probably go to another store next time. To prevent this from happening, the manager should apologize on behalf of the company and promise that he will pass on the remarks to his colleagues.
Each employee should understand that by working directly with the clients, he is not representing himself personally, but the entire company. And therefore, should pursue a common goal with the team — to make the client happy.
Client satisfaction is something that can be achieved if you put in the effort. Importance of building relationships with customers cannot be overestimated, as you can see. Try to always remain sympathetic towards you customers, research their needs, improve ways of interaction and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback! If someone is happy with the quality of the service you provided, they will be coming back and will help to spread the word around about your company. In reality, there is only one rule – value your customer and make them want to come back to you.