One of the first steps of marketing involves bringing customers in. Introducing customers to your brand and how it can help them, getting those first sales or leads. This is a big accomplishment for your business, but you will quickly begin to stall if you can’t hold onto those customers. That’s why customer retainment is just as important as customer acquisition. In fact, just a 5% boost in customer retention leads to a 25-29% boost in revenue.
However, the two skills are different. Just because you can bring in customers doesn’t mean you have the skills to build lasting relationships with them. Fortunately, these are skills that can be learned. Here are some of our tips for building relationships with customers.
No business will ever be perfect. There will be times where your customer doesn’t get quite the support from your product or service that they were hoping for. Maybe there’s a delayed shipment, or maybe the product arrives defective. This doesn’t have to be the end for your relationship with that customer. You can weather this and come out the other side with trust built if your communication is strong.
Give customers a clear way to contact you when they need support. This should be easy to find on your website and even social media. When you do communicate with customers, make sure your communication is clear, patient, and consistent. Don’t say something on your website and something else on the phone. Customers want to be able to trust the brands they work with. If they sense dishonesty, that’s a good way to drive them away. If, however, you provide them with clear and helpful support and problem solving when they need it, they will be more willing to come back in the future.
Your customers have plenty of stressors in their life already — including many of the brands they regularly do business with. That’s why a positive attitude makes a big difference when it comes to your brand. Any break from the stresses and negativity of their day-to-day lives come as a welcome relief. Make sure your brand material stays positive, and that you maintain positive interactions with your customers while facing them.
You and your customers need each other. You need your customers in order to make a profit. Your customers need your product or service in order to solve their problems or achieve their goals. But all too often, businesses can focus on the economic aspect of the relationship.
Customers hate to be treated like just a number. To the extent that you can, make an effort to treat your customer as an individual and to remember that you’re dealing with humans. Personalize your marketing and communication with your customers. Ask for their feedback and make sure they know that they’re heard. Show empathy in your business practices.
If customers feel like they’ve been lied to, they’re likely to jump ship. Even a vague description of your process or business practices can make some more jaded customers wary. If you want to build trust with your customers and develop lasting relationships, be transparent about your business practices, your values, and your process with your customers. They will appreciate the honesty and may feel more comfortable choosing to work with you over other companies in the future.
One easy but effective way to retain customers is to reward customer loyalty. This can be something as simple as a punch card that offers a free coffee, haircut, etc. after ten purchases. It could be a customer perks card that offers them a discount, or a discount that is offered when they refer a friend to the company. If you give your customers incentives to keep coming back, they will be much more likely to come back to your brand rather than trying to find somewhere new to shop.
If you want your customers to feel like family, make yourself a part of the community. Maybe you can set up a booth at a local convention or event, sponsor arts programs in your community, or donate to a local charity. This builds a positive reputation for your brand, as well as making your brand more of a tethered presence in your community. For your customers, supporting your business will feel like supporting a community establishment, not just any other business. Your business will be part of the neighborhood, part of what makes your community thrive.