Many business owners focus on the products and services they provide, but customer relations are often the most important determining factor of whether a business succeeds.
Customer relationships are so crucial in business today. Businesses that can build client relationships that are positive and then maintain them can create customer loyalty.
This allows a company to not only attract new customers but to maintain current customers for longer. In addition, these customers often spend more per purchase than with businesses that don’t have great customer relations.
Before you can understand how to improve customer relations, though, you need to understand what they are and why it’s so important.
What are customer relations?
Customer relations is the process by which a business can build relationships with clients and maintain them through their lifecycle as a customer. Today, it’s also often referred to as customer experience.
In simple terms, customer experience (or CX) is a way to measure how satisfied your customers are anytime they engage with your company, its products, or its services. The fact that CX has become so prominent in business today goes to show how important customer relationships are.
Many people think that to have customer relationships, one simply needs to keep an open communication channel. And while it’s definitely important to talk to them, you need more. You need to create a community and give them a great experience before, during, and after buying.
Building good customer relations also means offering them the personalized help and assistance they need, even when you’re not available. How? Take advantage of the FAQs page on your website or create an article with information that allows your clients to get the help they need whenever they need it.
The benefits of building customer relations
There are several practical reasons why customer relations are so important. Having positive customer relationships results in:
- Increased revenue
- Maintaining your customer base instead of losing them to competitors
- More engaged employees, which increases their productivity and reduces your turnover rate
- A better overall brand
When you build client relationships, you’re able to harness the power of positive customer relations into tangible benefits to your business.
Several eye-opening statistics prove why businesses need to build positive client relationships and then constantly work to maintain them.
Here are some of them:
- Companies that have excellent customer relationships have a 17% better chance of producing year-over-year growth
- Customers will pay a 13% price premium if they feel a company’s customer relations are good
- 86% of consumers will pay more if a business provides great customer relationships
- Companies that earn at least $1 billion each year could increase their revenue by $700 million within three years of investing in their customer relations
That last stat may not apply to you, but it still shows the power good client relations can bring to your company.
How to nurture customer relations: 6 tips
There are many ways to build client relationships that are positive and have a long-lasting effect on your business. Which steps you take, and how intensive they will be, depends a lot on where you are currently.
If you are starting from scratch, here are some steps you can follow to nurture customer relations.
1. Communication: assertive and friendly 🗣️
When communicating with your clients, you must always reflect your company’s values, but you should also be yourself. This will help customers stop thinking of your business as a faceless company.
- Don’t use generic messages
- Be honest
- Always be kind, warm, and friendly
- Your goal should always be to offer good service so that the customer is satisfied
- Talk to your customer by name (even newsletters have options to do this automatically)
- If you come across unhappy customers, don’t lose your temper and try to understand where they come from (take it as opportunities to improve)
Think about it this way: when you go buy something, would you rather have a friendly and accessible person help you, or someone unsympathetic?
2. Email marketing 📧
One of the best ways to reach customers today is through email. It allows you to communicate with customers directly and build positive client relations.
The most important but often overlooked aspect of email marketing is building a solid customer base. By sending these emails, they will always keep you in mind and might drive them to choose you over the competition.
So, it’s imperative that you try to capture the emails of customers whenever possible.
You should also create an email form on your website and social media pages where people can enter their email so you can keep in touch with them.
If you have a customer loyalty program, require customers to provide an email address to sign up so they can receive promotions, reminders about sales, or even exclusive benefits.
Once you have built a solid email list, you can use it to communicate with your customers for several reasons—including some of the following:
Once the list is built, you can use it to communicate offers, deals, and new products or services you’re offering.
You can take it a step further, too, by providing advice or education to your customers in your area of expertise. This is one of the best ways today that you can build client relationships.
3. Create a community 👨🏽👩🏻🦳🧔🏼👩🏻🦱👨🏾🦱👵🏽
Creating pages on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and others is one of the best ways to communicate with people, create a community, and offer great customer service. The best thing is that you can set up and post to these pages for free.
Connecting with people online in this way allows you to put a human face to your business. You can post photos, messages, polls, and other information right there on your page and ask your customers to do the same.
Harnessing the power of social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to build client relationships and maintain them over time.
4. Customer loyalty and rewards programs 🏆
Who doesn’t like to be rewarded for making purchases?
No matter what type of company you run, you can set up a customer loyalty or rewards program to build customer relationships.
For every dollar a customer spends at your store, for example, they can earn one point. Then, after they receive a certain number of points, they can cash them in for discounts, prizes, or a chance to win something big.
You can get really creative with the incentives you create for customer loyalty and rewards programs. This will help you improve your customer relations almost immediately.
5. Surveys ❓
It’s challenging to improve customer relationships if you don’t know what your customers want and what they think about your company.
If you want to find out what they think of you, all you need to do is ask.
The best way to do that on a grand scale today is to create surveys. Then, you can distribute them via your email list or on your social media channels.
If you have a larger customer list, you can hire a marketing firm to conduct these surveys for you. You may also want to go this route if you want to assess how non-customer think about your business.
This obviously won’t be free, but it would be well worth the money you invest in it. If it’s not something you can afford in your current budget, it would be worth considering a small business loan to help you gain this invaluable knowledge.
6. Understand your customers 💻
Following all the previous tips will be great to build client relationships. But if you want to keep the momentum going, you’re going to need a way to track the ongoing feedback and response to your company, its products, and/or services.
Once you track it, you’ll need to analyze it to truly understand how your clients buy and what they like.
Of course, you can do this manually if you have very few clients. Most likely, though, you have more than a hundred customers, and reviewing their info and data manually can get complicated. That’s where technology can come in.
There are many software packages available that will allow you to consolidate all your data so you can track and analyze it consistently. Some of this software is free, some of it is not. While you may be able to get away with using the free software and/or free versions, you may find the paid versions are what you really need.
Again, you’d be hard-pressed not to get a positive return on investment from good customer relationship software. The ROI it will provide in the long-term will more than make up for whatever money it takes to purchase the software upfront.
Good customer relations lead to more profits
Nurturing customer relations and building a positive customer experience is one of the biggest determining factors for whether businesses are successful today. In fact, many studies found that in 2020, customer experience overtook product and price as the key differentiator for brands.
If you’re not already investing in improving your customer relationships, you should start doing so immediately.
Camino Financial is here to help you make that investment. We provide excellent small business loans for companies to make the investments they need to take their business forward.
We’re always looking to live up to our motto of “No Business Left Behind” by providing the best small business loans available and the best customer experience for our clients.
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