It’s great to have a huge database of existing customers and a long list of potential ones, but over time, it’s the small core of loyal and consistent customers that you depend on. If these types of people have been with you a while, you are clearly doing something right, but you can work on deepening these relationships, to increase the size of your core group.
To connect with your customers, you need to learn about them, share your knowledge with them, listen to what they have to say and make them part of a larger network. Today’s facilities make a digital marketing campaign both easy and effective, offering you a variety of ways to connect with your customers. Here are some ways to build those lasting relationships:
Ensure your communication channels are open and clear
There are many ways to stay in touch with your customers, from emails to social media, blogs and business network posts, to phone calls to old fashioned snail mail. It’s really important to make yourself as contactable as possible and to reply to enquiries as soon as you can. During a project or protracted sales negotiation, regular updates can go a long way to keep the momentum. Pre-empting problems is only possible when you and the customer are in constant communication. There is nothing quite so frustrating as trying to reach someone when you have an urgent request, to find out they are on leave for the next few weeks. All it takes is organisation and a schedule with reminders to touch base, to get your customers feeling like they’re special to you.
Share your knowledge
When a customer comes to you for a product or service, chances are your knowledge and experience with it is vastly superior to theirs. Instead of using this knowledge to maintain the upper hand, sharing it will make your customer feel included, more likely to engage with you further. Getting to know your customers and understanding their problems, gives you an opportunity to go beyond being just a service provider. This should boost your customer’s confidence and hopefully pave the way for a long and mutually beneficial relationship.
Invite them to be part of your network
It’s quite likely that your customers will be looking for other products or services than the ones you provide and you are in the position of sharing reliable and trusted contacts from your network. Doing this is most probably going to result in your customers having more respect and trust for you than before. They are also likely to reciprocate by inviting you into their networks, giving you more potential customers.
Make sure you meet your deadlines
Tardiness in business is a sure fire way to lose credibility. Whether it be a project plan with deliverables across multiple timeframes, or as simple as delivering a product when promised, time management is a reflection of the way you run your business. If you know this is a weak point for you, use diaries, calendars, reminders or software packages to help you get it right. When setting deadlines, rather overestimate the time it will take you, so you can aim to deliver early if possible. Trying to please a customer by cutting down on much needed time to deliver a quality product, will either result in an inferior product, or an unhappy customer.
None of this is rocket science, but putting in that bit more effort can be the difference between customers who interact you sporadically, when they need something, and customers who stay loyal to your business for many years.