Sometimes in business, we can be so pre-occupied with chasing down new customers and offering them sparkling deals to attract them in, that we neglect the loyal customers we already have.
In fact, looking after customer relations is vital to building your business. If people are happy with your service, not only will they come back for more, but they have the capacity to become advocates for your brand, bringing more customers through your door without you having to do any of the hard work. Simple, right?
1. Make yourself pleasant to do business with
It sounds obvious, but in today’s global economy it can be easy to forget that fundamentally people do business with people. And people will only want to do business with you if they like you (or at least if they don’t dislike you!). If people find you difficult or abrasive they will go elsewhere. Simple. When you’re wondering how to retain customers, the best way is to be open, honest and transparent in everything you do. It’s a powerful method, and it’s not difficult to do.
Why not put in place a customer service strategy to make sure everyone who comes into contact with your customers treats them in the same polite and respectful way?
2. Do what you say you’re going to do
Taking the trustworthiness thing one step further. If you agree, a deadline or deliverable with a customer, make damn sure you meet it. Obviously, there are times when things go wrong – that’s life. But at the first sniff of not being able to meet their expectations, let your customer know the situation and make a plan so they know you are doing everything in your power to get things back on track. You might even find that your relationship with your client becomes stronger as a result, as they’ll trust you to be honest with them in the future.
3. Resolve problems quickly and efficiently
You’ve heard that familiar saying “the customer is always right,” right? And while, in reality, we don’t always believe this, sometimes it pays to smile, nod politely, bite your tongue and offer that gesture of good will anyway. Because often the ramifications of not doing so are a lot more time-consuming and expensive than they are worth. Maintain customer relationships by thinking about the bigger picture when you’re dealing with one-off situations.
4. Listen to your customers
Whether they’re feeding back on recent service, telling you about an issue they’ve had or just offering ideas for improvement, maintain customer relationships by really listening to what your customers are saying. Not what you think they are saying! When you’re talking to a customer, ignore any distractions and process what they are saying carefully before offering a well thought out response.
5. Make it all about THEM not YOU
People don’t care about you, they care about themselves, and so talking about yourselves all the time can be a huge turn off, so make sure you keep the focus on your customers. Let them know how you can meet their specific needs and make sure you go out of your way to actually do so. Or even better, ask them what they’d like from you.
Sales analytics software like sales-i allows you to learn more about your customers and store that information in an easily accessible and reportable way. This will allow you to send out specially targeted offers and to recall previous conversations whenever your customer calls. So, you can maintain good relationships with customers and keep them feeling special by making everything about them.
6. Keep in regular contact
Carefully crafted newsletters or regular emails that share useful tips and offers in a friendly way can help your customers feel like they are getting to know you better, which is part of the battle when you’re looking to strengthen or maintain customer relationships.
Popping into people’s inboxes regularly not only gives you the chance to offer deals or rewards for loyal custom, it also means you will stay at the forefront of their minds. So, when they need your services again, or when someone else asks for a recommendation, your name will be on the tip of their tongue. To learn more about how sales-i can help you maintain customer relationships that move your business forward try our free online demo.