How to build strong, lasting relationships with customers

Customers are the lifeblood of any small business. They are essential to the long-term success of your company. As the noted marketer Jay Abraham has noted, “There are only three ways to grow your business.” These three ways are:

  • Increase the number of customers entering your sales funnel and buying from you
  • Increase the average transaction, get each customer to buy more at each purchase
  • Increase the frequency that the average customer purchases from you; get each of them to buy from you more often

Obviously, the first and last points have much to do with building solid and lasting relationships with customers. Recall that those repeat customers are worth up to nine times more than a first-time customer. Your ability to build relationships that matter is vital in your efforts to turn a first-time customer into one who comes back repeatedly.

Accordingly, here are five ways to develop customer relationships that last.

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Communicate with your customers

You know all the great advice about how romantic relationships are built on communication? Well, it plays a pretty significant role in building customer relationships, too. Instead of just blasting out advertising that blabs about “me, me, me!” start having conversations with those you believe are most likely to want your products or services. Discover their needs and wants. Then, provide products or services that fulfill their desires.

Remember that a large portion of communications between your organization and your customers happens through your employees. You need to teach them how to communicate effectively. For example, don’t ever allow customer service to be an issue with your organization. Make it a policy that employees must follow up with customers to ensure their needs are met.

Exceed customer expectations

In today’s world, it shouldn’t even need to be said. If you aren’t willing to go over and above to “wow” your customers by exceeding their expectations, you’re going to be beaten by a company that is. As much as possible, then, you should set your standards at the highest levels. Expect the utmost from yourself and your employees, and your customers are much more likely to experience that “wow” factor they’re looking for.

Remember that when you overdeliver, it impresses customers. When they’re impressed, they’re likely to give you more of their business.

Ask for customer feedback

How can you give your customers what they need if you have no clue what’s going on in their minds? Just like you probably wouldn’t go anniversary shopping without some idea about what your significant other would want in a present, you shouldn’t make an offer to customers without knowing what they think in advance.

Remember that customers don’t have any problem expressing their like or dislike of you, your brand, your products, or your services. Many do so every day online. To show that you’re listening and that you care, be active in an effort to make customers aware that you’re listening to them. For instance, you could conduct surveys or place comment cards on your business counter.

Keep in mind that the better you are at fulfilling your customers’ needs and desires, the more business they’ll give you. It’s just about as simple as that.

Connect with your customers

Engage with your customers as much as possible. With today’s technology, that’s easier than ever before. You can begin conversations easily on social media and through other online tools. Get them on your newsletter mailing list. Talk to them through email. Just be sure it’s an actual conversation and not actually you alone, preaching your brand’s message.

Ask questions. Answer them, too. Be real. Additionally, use your company’s website to distribute content. A blog is an excellent tool to inspire, educate, and connect. Use it!

Show your customers appreciation

Think about creating a loyalty program for long-term customers. You can provide them with discounts or other types of rewards. For example, maybe along with a purchase, you could mail your customers a small “thank you” package with inexpensive, branded items. There are many things you could try.

In other words, give customers an incentive to stick around. Always thank them and remember that they could have chosen your competitor over you. Their loyalty isn’t a given.

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The final word

Remember that those who buy from you are confident people. If you don’t demonstrate that you care about and understand them, they’re perfectly able to take their business elsewhere. People crave personalized connections these days. Therefore, incorporate personalization into every step of the customer journey.

Remember the adage that people buy from those they know, like, and trust. What better way to demonstrate that your company is worth getting to know, is worthy of being liked, and that your brand can be trusted than to provide the best, personalized shopping experience possible?

There’s another adage: “Show. Don’t tell.”

For you, that means demonstrating excellence and care in every interaction with your customers. When you do, they’ll return to you.

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