Building long-lasting relationships with your customers

By Henry Brown

When you’re attempting to grow a new business, to turn your idea into a success and to somehow stand out from the crowd in an oversaturated marketplace that is filled with much larger companies, there’s very little more critical than building a relationship with your customers.

A positive relationship with customers can inspire trust and loyalty and ensures that they keep coming back and that they tell their friends about you. These loyal customers will stick with you through the harder times, help you to develop new ideas, try new things, offer you invaluable feedback, and generally become the heart of your business.

But, in a world where so much of your business is done online, communications and transactions are so cold and impersonal, how can you build these relationships? Let’s take a look!

Use social media

Social media is an excellent way to build valuable relationships with your customers, especially if your business is solely online. Many new start-ups make the mistake of using social media simply to promote their services, website or products.

Over time, this can annoy your followers, and they will block or mute your account. Instead, use social media to get to know people. Offer them advice, comment on their posts and use your account to share other people’s content. This will help your audience start to trust you.

Get to know them

Getting to know your customers is a great idea. Years ago, people would pop into their local shops for a chat. They knew the staff and owners. Now, when so much business is done online, the personal touch can get lost. But, it doesn’t have to. Chat with your customers. You don’t need to remember their life history, but a few details will help.

Offer incentives

There’s a theory that if a customer enjoys a meal in a restaurant, they tell no one. If they have a bad meal or a poor experience they tell 10 of their friends or contacts. You need to turn that round. Offer a “bring a friend” type incentive to get your customers spreading the word and bringing their friends.

Reward loyalty

Running a smaller business, you may find that you can’t afford to compete with the promotions and sales that larger companies seem to offer every other week. So, don’t try. Instead, reward your regular customers or clients. Rewards don’t have to be huge. Offer free delivery, a loyalty card with a small discount after spending a certain amount, or even just send a Christmas card at the end of the year. It’s often the smaller, personal touches that are remembered and looked upon favorably.

Ask for their help

One brilliant way to build relationships with your customers is by showing them that you value their opinions. People love to be appreciated and to feel like they matter. So, ask them questions. Garner opinion on new products or website designs. You can do this by asking directly, sending feedback surveys or even just running polls on your Twitter feed. Just be sure to reply, get involved in the discussions and let people know you will be taking their ideas on board.

Make it easy

Customers don’t like having to work. They want their experience to be easy and fun. Get a seo service company involved to make sure your website is easy to find. Then, make sure it’s easy to use and offers a positive customer experience.

Even if your business is run solely online, or you only deal with other businesses, never directly to with the public, relationships are important. Don’t neglect them.

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Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

 

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