Relationships Are Key to Customer Retention

Relationships Are Key to Customer Retention

Why you need to get to know customers and stay in touch.

By Marcia Smith

Build 1-to-1 relationships

You’re definitely going to build a better business by taking a personal, caring approach – no one wants to be treated as just a number.

Modern communications technology has facilitated customer relations; so even in the mass market it’s possible to engage with customers informally and empathetically. You’ll find it easier to build a client relationship if you’re willing to regard customers as individuals, and imagine your dealings with them progressing through the same stages you’d experience at a personal level. You’d start by courting them, then sensitively dealing with disagreements, and finally convincing them to seal the deal for mutual benefit.

And stay in touch

It’s the biggest dilemma facing business owners/managers: what’s the limit when it comes to keeping in touch? Bombard customers with spam and they’ll revile you; too quiet and they’ll forget you.

Regular contact is advisable – once a month should be adequate. You’ll find e-newsletters are a cost-effective way of staying in touch with clients used judiciously. Make content useful and relevant and not overtly spammy. Be opportunistic – you’ll find it’s appreciated if you send old-fashioned cards for birthdays, anniversaries, thank you notes, congratulatory messages and so on. Keeping in touch is appreciated if it appears genuine rather than purely promotional. The goal of constant contact should be to stay on your clients’ mind, not to sell to them at every opportunity. If they have had a good experience with you previously, and you are the first company they think of, when the need arises they’ll very likely return.

Make customer service stand out

Companies promise a lot but too many variables mean outcomes are not consistent. This is where you can make your customer service stand out from the crowd. If you can be reliable and rectify clients’ concerns much better than your competitors, you’ll ensure customers come back to you. It’s all about reassurance and getting customers to commit to you.

Think about using social media too. Customers that have now embraced the brand will expect to be talked to in a human way and may use channels such as Twitter or Facebook to communicate with you.

Great customer service brings this personal touch to your business.