Over the last few months, we have written several blogs about the sales funnel, qualified leads, and follow up fatigue. Building your client base is hard work, but when you follow proven methods, you are rewarded with great customers. It is also hard work to nurture and retain customers. When we forget to nurture existing relationships, we increase the risk of losing them as a customer, therefore, causing us to work harder bringing in new clients.
After a qualified lead becomes a customer, it is important to continue building that relationship. We would like to share four ways to strengthen customer relationships so that they remain loyal and refer others to you.
- Watch How You Speak About Others. The more we get to know someone, the more we feel comfortable sharing beyond the superficial. Relationships are built on trust, and when that relationship begins to build on gossip, it can raise doubt and skepticism. B2B relationships are no different. Be discerning how you talk about other clients and competitors. When you speak about others with respect, your customers will trust that you will speak about them the same way.
- Always Treat Your Customer as an Individual. No one likes to be a statistic or a number. We like to feel valuable and important in a relationship. This is an area that automation cannot replace. There is a place for automated marketing like an announcement of new products, reminders, and email newsletters, but personal interaction for a small business must not be forgotten. Take time to personally email your customer instead of sending an automated reply, call them instead of having your assistant call them, or treat them to coffee instead of giving them a gift card. When you treat them as an individual, you learn how you can be a better partner and they learn to look to you for solutions and recommendations.
- Share Your Opinion. Strong relationships are built on open communication and honesty. You are helping your customer succeed when your share opinion rather than agreeing with them on everything. When you share your opinion, they may not always take it, but it will make them think through their decisions and they will know that you will always be honest.
- Know When to Talk to Your Customer. How many times do we get frustrated when someone contacts us at an inconvenient time, especially, when that someone knows us? When we consistently contact our customers at the wrong time, we are causing a wall of frustration. As you build your relationship with your customers, take the time to know their overall office routine. If you know they have standing meetings every Tuesday morning or if you know that they try to be out of the office by 3 pm to get their child to soccer practice, do not attempt to contact them around those times. Wait until a more convenient time. Being considerate of their schedule will strengthen their relationship with you.
There are other things you can do to build customer relationships like exceptional customer service, timely meetings, and appreciation, but the most important thing in the client relationship is trust. Follow our four practical ways to building strong customer relationships and you will see improvements in new and existing relationships. If you and/or your staff is struggling to strengthen customer relationships, we would love to help you become an organization with great customer relationships. Contact us to learn more.