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Relationships building is one of the aspects of business management no business owner can toy with. Modern business requires more than a management skill to succeed especially when it comes to managing business and customer relationships.
From your staff to your customers, you just have to build and maintain good relationships amongst the people surrounding your business. After all, no one becomes successful in isolation.
When we talk about customer relationships, we are talking about the ways in which your business communicates and deals with customers.
Customer relationships management (CRM)
It’s not just about building great customer relationships, it’s also about maintaining the relationships as well. This is why customer relationships management (CRM) is an increasingly important aspect of running a business — and a successful strategy is an extremely useful tool for almost any business model.
Modern business is all about relationship marketing, or we should just say the art of building connections, rapport and personal relationships with customers.
Most of the successful businesses rely on strong customer relationships to continue to grow. This is why relationship building is an important aspect of business management.
How your business can build great customer relationships
Obviously, customers are the mainstay of any successful business and this is why the best of business relationships is arguably the one between the business and the customers.
The fact is that when customers are happy, the business is happy too. This is why some people think that keeping customers happy offers more benefits to the business than what one can imagine. Happy customers are more likely to refer your service, product or business to their friends, family and colleagues via word-of-mouth marketing — and this grapevine effect is invaluable.
Simply put, great customer relationships help build much needed brand loyalty and improves business reputation. Below are some of the best ways your business can build and maintain great customer relationships:
#1). Build a network of contacts
Modern business is all about networking, or should I just say the art of building connections, rapport and personal relationships with people that may have an interest in what you do. The fact is that networking and making business connections is sales lifeline you should never ignore.
So who are your network? Your network includes business colleagues, professional acquaintances, prospective and existing customers, partners, suppliers, contractors and association members, as well as family, friends and people you meet at school and in your community.
What you should always remember is the fact that contacts are potential customers waiting for you to connect with their needs. But how do you turn networks of contacts into customers? Surely, it’s not by hoping they’ll remember meeting you some months ago at that networking event.
As a matter of fact, networking is a long-term investment. When you do it right, you are adding value to the relationship, and that contact you just made can really pay off. Communicate with your business’s life depends on it.
#2). Communication is important, you should do it early and often
Communication is an integral part of running a business and this is what you should be doing often because relationships have a short shelf life. No matter how charming, enthusiastic or persuasive you are, no one will likely remember you from a business card or a one-time meeting. If you truly want to stay in touch with your contacts, communicate with them.
Following up on contacts you have made is very important. Meeting people at an event is just the beginning of the process of relationship building.
But when you contact them either by telephone or email, you are then making an attempt to establish connections. One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they come home from networking events and fail to follow up.
Make the connection immediately. Send a “nice to meet you” e-mail or let these new contacts know you have added them to your newsletter list and then send them the latest copy. Immediately reinforce who you are, what you do and the connection you have made.
#3). Build customer relationships via email marketing
Email marketing keeps relationships strong on a shoestring budget. Build your reputation as an expert by giving away some free insight. Some people think that the era of email marketing has gone. Are you one of them?
The fact is that email marketing is still relevant and stylishly thriving today. You have interesting things to say! An easy way to communicate is with a brief e-mail newsletter that shows prospects why they should buy from you.
Email marketing is a cost-effective and easy way to stay on customers’ minds, build their confidence in your expertise, and retain them. For just pennies per customer, you can distribute an e-mail newsletter that includes tips, advice and short items that entice consumers and leave them wanting more.
And it’s viral: Contacts and customers who find what you do interesting or valuable will forward your e-mail message or newsletter to other people, just like word of mouth marketing. Make your business marketing emails interesting, you will feel the positive effects on your business.
#4). Make your customers feel valued and appreciated
No doubt about it, loyal customers are best salespeople of any business. This is why you should always strive to make your customers feel valued and appreciated, and it will translate into valuable and much-needed brand loyalty for your business.
Customer loyalty is what leads to brand advocates on many occasions. The fact is that it’s much easier for a loyal customer to become a brand advocate, which could lead to many more customers and sales.
This is one of the best means of building great customer relationships that can easily lead to more sales. You have to let them feel appreciated for doing business with you. This is what will help your business to be able to compete with others.
Get your business customer definition right so that you can understand and probably exceed their expectations. Remember that in today’s world of Internet shopping and e-commerce, it is much easier for customers to quickly switch to your competitors, especially, if you failed to meet and exceed their expectations.
#5). Reward loyal customers, and they’ll reward you
If you truly want to build really great customer relationships that can lead to sales, there is the need for you to reward loyal customers. On average, repeat customers spend 67 percent more than new customers. So your most profitable customers are repeat customers.
One of the very best means of keeping your customers is by rewarding them for choosing you over your competitors. As a business owner, what you should understand is that at times every little help counts when it comes to retaining customers loyalty which is good for word of mouth marketing. This is why you should make your customers an integral part of your business.
So, are you doing enough to encourage your customers to do business with you again? Stay in touch, and give them something of value in exchange for their time, attention and business. It doesn’t need to be too much; a coupon, notice of a special event, helpful insights and advice, or news they can use are all effective. Just remember: If you don’t keep in touch with your customers, your competitors will.