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How to Develop a Relationship With a Customer
Creating and nurturing a strong relationship with a customer is key to the ongoing success of a business. Dissatisfied customers, on the other hand, are often put off by what they perceive as a purely “business” relationship to a company. A strong customer relationship not only means that the client is likely to keep doing business with a provider over the long-term, it also means that the chances of that customer recommending the company and its products to others are greatly enhanced.Read on for strategies that will help you to build a solid relationship with your customers.
Building a Relationship With a Customer
Get to know your customers in person.Getting to know your customers in person is ideal, as many customers frequent businesses run by people they know and like.
- When you speak with customers in person, ask about their interests and concerns, as well as what is working and not working for them with respect to your own business. Remembering a customer’s name, family members and other personal details can go a long way.
- Taking notes will help you to remember specific details about a customer's feedback, allowing you to learn more about each customer's particular experience.
- Special events are a good way to meet face-to-face and get to know customers on a personal basis. They also provide a space for customers to ask questions and make suggestions; you will also learn a great deal about customers' needs and desires.
Create a database for customer phone numbers, mail and e-mail addresses.The more detailed and complex your customer database, the better you will be able to respond to and meet customer needs.
- A customer database will contain phone numbers, mail and e-mail addresses, as well as more complex data regarding customer preferences, behaviour, order history, as well as information about how your business is meeting customer needs.
Use surveys, polls, and questionnaires to learn about customer preferences and needs.These tools will provide important information about what customers like about your business and what can be improved.
- A customer is more likely to frequent your business if they feel they are heard; surveys, polls and questionnaires will provide a voice to your customer and increase their engagement with you and your business.
- Employee satisfaction also plays an important role in developing and maintaining relationships with customers. Gauging your employees' level of satisfaction, and encouraging their suggestions for improvements in your business, will provide important feedback and contribute to customer satisfaction.
Research your customers.Carefully studying your own company's practices and performance, as well as customer information gathered through market research, will help you to identify your customers, their needs and ways you can improve their relationship to your business.
- Asking specific questions about a customer's needs and level of satisfaction will provide important information that you can act upon to improve your relationship to them, as well as improve customer service more generally.
- Analyzing published market research will help you to build a larger picture of particular segments of customers, and provide information you can use to improve your business relationship to specific demographics.
- Depending on the size of your, business analytics software and other types of computer technology can help gather information that will help you to communicate effectively with customers.
Communicating With a Customer
Communicate with the customer.Establishing lines of communication with your customers is vital to developing relationships with them, and you should utilize as many communication platforms as possible.
- It is important to stay in your customer’s thoughts after an initial meeting. Make sure to establish a line of communication with the customer early on, whether through an e-mail message, newsletter, or other means.
- Don't focus exclusively on your company's products or services, or only contact customers when you are trying to earn their business. Updates on events, product or service advancements, or other news will help to build communication between you and the customer that is not strictly based on business.
- Engaging a customer in your business - finding ways of actively involving them in the development and improvement of your business - is an important component of building a relationship with them. Focus on developing two-way communication with customers.
Send out a monthly newsletter.A newsletter is a great way to keep your customers informed of products and services, upcoming events and sales. A newsletter can be sent in more traditional paper form, or sent out through e-mail.
Develop a social media presence.Social media is now often crucial to engaging customers, so you should be prepared to interact with customers on a variety of social media platforms (often outside of business hours).
- Set up a Facebook page, Twitter account, or use other social media platforms to keep your customers informed. Invite your customers to visit your business profiles on social media.
Hold special events, parties, and contests.These types of events will allow you to meet customers face-to-face, actively involve customers in your business, as well as demonstrate your appreciation for their loyalty.
Encourage customer feedback.This includes seeking suggestions on new features or products that would interest the customer, as well as critiques of current products and features. This will not only build customer loyalty, but provide important information about customer needs and customer satisfaction.
- Let your customers know that honest, constructive feedback is encouraged, and be open to suggestions from your customers as to how you can improve your business.
- Always listen carefully and respond in a manner that lets the client know you understand the suggestions or critiques that have been offered.
Maintaining a Relationship With a Customer
Be honest with the customer at all times.A reputation of honesty and integrity is crucial to building long-term customer relationships. In fact, customer trust can be as important as the quality of the products you sell or services you offer.
- Always keep your commitments. Attempts to earn trust by making commitments that cannot be kept will only hurt the customer relationship.
- Be open and honest about any problems you encounter. If you cannot meet a deadline, have difficulty locating a particular product, or encounter difficulties providing a specific service, notify the customer immediately.
Be transparent in your business dealings.This means focusing on providing a complete answer in response to customer queries and concerns. Be honest in those communications and set reasonable expectations for getting back to clients if you need to do some research before making a response. Doing so leaves the impression that what the customer thinks matters greatly and that the customer is in fact your priority.
- You can create an online resource for customers to track orders, monitor the progress of a project, or find other important information about the particular product or service they have invested in.
Always acknowledge mistakes, problems and delays.Customers will often know when you are telling the truth and when you are not providing all of the relevant information. Long-term customer relationships are built on transparency and trust.
Say thank-you to your customers.Showing your appreciation for a customer's business and loyalty is key to maintaining a good relationship with them. Expanding your business requires not only new customers, but also clearly communicating your appreciation to loyal customers.
- Reward programs for frequent customers, particularly for those who invest the most time and money in your business, helps to create loyal customers. Rewards might include loyalty points cards, gift cards, and special sales.
Develop a real relationship.Interacting with a customer in person is the best way to establish a relationship and encourage loyalty. A customer’s personal experience with you and your business – and their ability to communicate with you in a convenient manner – are important to building a lasting relationship.
- Speak with customers directly. Difficulty reaching a real human being, and the long waits associated with customer service phone lines, can negatively impact a customer’s feelings about your business.
- Avoid outsourcing your business social media presence or customer service. Customers appreciate authentic, personal service.
QuestionHow do I act around a very important client in my home?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFirst, I would maker certain everything was very clean and organized, in particular the restrooms. A business casual dress is typically appropriate, even if they are staying for more than a short visit. It is customary to offer guests a beverage, and possibly something to eat. So, ideally, you should discover any allergies (including to household pets, foods, etc.) they may have, and also learn about their preferences. It is good to have several choices of food(s)/beverage(s) appropriate to the time(s) of day(s). Take effort to not offend someone by not understanding spiritual, and or religious beliefs they may posses. A clean, punctual and well-run household says a great deal about a person.Thanks!
What can I do if a customer won't respond to my overtures?
- Avoid arguing with a client. Even if the customer is operating under a false assumption or incomplete information, acknowledge that you understand what the client is conveying. Repeat the key points and ask if you have grasped the particulars properly. Then set a specific date and time to get back to the client with answers. This makes it possible for the client to feel that he or she has been heard and helps to set reasonable expectations for some type of resolution to take place.
- A solid customer relationship can make it easier to get through some type of breakdown in service and eventually overcome negative obstacles such as an order that is delivered late or a request that is not handled correctly. An open line of communication will do much to keep the relationship strong and also identify the origin of the issue and lead to a resolution that the client will find equitable.
- Use the customer's name in all types of communication. The salutation should always reflect the preferences of the customer. This means that if the client prefers to be addressed with the use of a title and a surname, that is the approach you will use. Only use first names if the client has given permission to do so.
Sources and Citations
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