The need for stronger relationships with your customers is more important than ever. Regardless of your industry, here are five tips worth considering when developing a strategy for improving the quality of your customer relationships.
1. Engage customers
Successful relationships are a two-way street. Loyal customers and clients want to be actively invested in the relationship.
If you notice that a customer is limiting his or her involvement with you, it could be a sign that the relationship is on rocky ground.
To improve engagement, empower customers by inviting them to partner with your company in the process of generating new ideas and strategies. Are they planning to enter a new market or launch a new product? Ask for their opinion and find out their short and long-term goals, this will help build rapport and also give you an inside look at how they operate.
2. Make the first move
Ideally, customers should view your company as a Trusted Adviser, which means that you are the first person they call when they pursue a new line of business or launch a new project, or if they need help.
To become a Trusted Adviser, consider offering assistance before the customer asks, as a way to demonstrate your commitment to the relationship. Regularly sending them industry news and updates will also help to position you as an expert and also communicate that they are top of mind.
3. Obtain feedback
In addition to offering useful and relevant information, regularly solicit feedback and advice from customers.
In many cases, insight from regular feedback improves relationships by highlighting problems that existed below the surface—and also because you’ll be communicating that you are willing to go the extra mile to make sure you’re meeting their needs. Keep in mind that if you gather feedback from your customer, you must be willing and able to act upon it.
4. Think individuals, not numbers
Every customer has their own unique needs and preferences.
If 80% of your company’s customers are happy, you’d probably consider that a success However, what would happen if the 20% of unhappy customers account for the bulk of your revenue?
The best client relationships are created when you tailor your strategy to the expressed needs of each individual customer. Stay alert and pay attention to your customers’ unique needs and treat each like your only customer.
5. Keep communication channels open
Healthy relationships thrive on communication. If your business communicates with customers only at their request or when your company needs something, it will be difficult to leverage relationships as a driver of sales. Instead, touch base often with customers to inquire about their progress and to learn how you might be better able to meet their needs and expectations.
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Relationship-building can be a challenge and despite your best efforts, some customers will choose to abandon your company for a competitor. But, on the whole, the implementation of relationship-building strategies will yield measurable improvements in sales and lengthen the duration of relationships with your company’s most valuable customers.