Building your customer base is straightforward. According to your sales team, at least. It hinges on forging relationships with customers while earning their trust and loyalty and at the same time developing your team. The reality, though, is somewhat different. You are juggling commitments to your existing customers, creating new sales avenues, and trying to beef up your bottom line. It’s a daunting prospect for anyone. For this reason, here are 5 simple tips for building stronger customer relationships.
What you will learn in this article
- How customer relationships are built
- 5 great tips for stronger customer relationships
- How you can apply the tips to your small business
- How CRM can help
- Getting started with CRM
How customer relationships are made
Customer relationships don’t happen magically overnight. Instead, they build on the foundations of trust and communication, great branding, and perceived value by the customer. If you can earn respect and forge meaningful relationships with customers, they will keep coming back. Yes, having an outstanding product or service is essential. But it is the customer experience that drives repeat business.
Creating and managing your customer relationships allow you to:
- Win repeat business
- Reduce the cost of acquiring new costumes
- Increase profits in the long-term
You may keep your friends close, but you need to keep customers closer still. You can do this with these 5 great tips for stronger customer relationships.
5 ways to woo customers
Use the customer’s preferred communication channel
Today’s tech-savvy customer wants to use multiple communication channels. This is tough for small businesses as it seems there’s always a new medium waiting in the wings. The outcome is customers want fast resolution of their problems, whichever channel they choose.
It is good manners and makes business sense to reply to customers using the medium they used to initiate their request. If it’s by phone, always get back by phone, and so on. This helps in two ways:
- It builds familiarity between you and the customer
- It keeps everyone in sync instead of trying to conduct the conversation over multiple platforms.
Build relationships with ladders and loyalty
A helpful way to think about customer relationships is to see them as ladders. First, the customer starts life as a prospect; they haven’t tried your product or service yet. Hopefully, your pitch is successful, and they become a customer who has used what you have to offer.
Job done? Not quite. The customer is not a client until you have an ongoing relationship. This means they give you repeat business and have formed brand loyalty as they can leverage your product or service to align with their values.
The final step in the customer relationship journey is for the client to become an advocate by making word-of-mouth recommendations to their network.
No one enjoys being treated like a number on a spreadsheet. You must show your human side. This demonstrates you are genuine and authentic.
Make the customer’s problem your problem by ‘investing in their success. You and your team have developed a product or service to improve lives. So it makes sense to tell people how to utilize your offering to fit their needs.
Think of the customer as your partner in the broader scheme of things and show them they are not just a number. In time, this grows empathy and care as you emphasize the customer’s success and link it to your own.
Always keep customers in sight
Customer relationships are much easier to cultivate if you document your interactions and keep in touch. Updates and open comms channels are vital to building any relationship. Small businesses closely connected to their customers are often more highly regarded than those that don’t.
However, it’s a two-way thing; listening is as vital as sales talk. If you listen and understand customers, you will have a deeper connection and get helpful feedback to create even better products and services. And you can only do this by keeping track of every single interaction.
Use a CRM system
By far, the best way to keep track of interactions and understand customers better is by using a CRM system. Memory, spreadsheets, and email inboxes will only take you so far and not very efficiently.
If you are still relying on manual systems to collate customer data and keep track of interactions, it’s now time to invest in a Customer Relationship Management system to do the job.
In today’s highly competitive business world, you can no longer rely on your memory of a meeting that took place three weeks ago. And how much time is involved in hunting on your phone, email inbox, and laptop for customer contact details? And how many times do you interrupt your team to find out who last contacted a client and when?
If any of these scenarios sound depressingly familiar, you need to get a CRM system pronto.
How to get started with CRM
Customer Relationship Management is no longer the impenetrable tech nightmare to keep you awake at night. Indeed, today it’s quite the opposite. The latest generation of CRMs is user-friendly and intuitive to use. And they are a breeze to implement and scale up as your business expands.
We are talking here about cloud-based CRM systems, of course. These are the simplest, most practical, and affordable ways to implement a small business CRM. As the servers and software are online, all you and your team have to do is log in. You pay a monthly subscription that’s based on the features you need and your number of users.
It’s quite an elegant solution for small businesses. To restrict your research net to cloud CRM vendors and always take a free trial. This presents the opportunity to get hands-on exposure to the technology and decide if you like what you see.
Customer relationships can’t be left to chance or taken for granted. This is particularly true for small businesses where there’s less room to maneuver. Contact us today and let’s find out how we can help your company. We are cloud CRM specialists custom-built to be small business-friendly.