Customer relationships are the connections that a company forms with a customer through interactions and purchases. A business’s marketing, branding and business policies can all have an impact on how customers view their relationship with the company. Customer relationships can help businesses form the kind of loyal connections s that lead to long-term profits.
Customer relations vs customer service
They may sound like the same thing but customer relations refers to the ongoing relationship you build with your customers, while customer service is mostly in response to specific and individual customer complaints and/or issues that need to be addressed immediately.
Good customer relationships are a critical part of having a successful business. They’re important because they set the tone for how existing and future customers think about a business and its products.
Greater stability: Companies rely on their customer relationships to build a loyal base of consumers that they can rely on to make purchases. Knowing that you have good relationships with your customers can help you feel confident with income projections and invest in ways to expand.
More purchases: Good customer relationships often lead to customers staying with your company for a long time, making more purchases and spending more money as time goes on. Increasing the lifetime value of each customer by growing strong relationships is a great way to get the highest return on the investment you made to attract each customer.
13 ways to build customer relationships
1. Understand the customer journey
To have good customer relationships, you first need to evaluate the customer’s actions and thought processes during the buying process. Having a customer journey map that details each step of the sales funnel and addresses a customer’s thoughts at every stage can help you empathize with the customer’s experience and anticipate their needs.
2. Introduce yourself to the customer
In an increasingly digital world, customers appreciate the chance to talk directly to a company representative. Give customers a direct contact number for a front-facing staff member, and sign all communications with the name of a real employee. Taking the time to introduce yourself to the consumer on a personal basis is a great way to form genuine connections.
3. Survey customers to measure satisfaction
Customers appreciate it when a company listens to their comments and complaints. Send out customer surveys to gather feedback on your company’s products and customer service. Consider posting a survey on your website or sending email requests for feedback or product reviews. All of these methods will help you learn more about what your customers value.
4. Implement CRM software tools
Using customer relationship management (CRM) software to help manage data and track communications can allow you to provide more engaged service to customers. By using software to manage administrative tasks, your team can focus more on connecting with customers in an authentic way.
5. Market your customer service perks
Start advertising your company as a business that values the customer to spread awareness of your brand and create a company culture that emphasizes a commitment to consumers. Using your excellent customer service as a marketing tool attracts customers who also value high-quality, attentive service. Emphasize offerings like a 24/7 customer service line, a responsive app or loyalty rewards to attract and maintain loyal customers.
6. Match customer habits
Make it easier to have relationships with customers by using the same types of technology and communication channels that they do. Research how your customers tend to shop, then make your brand accessible in those spaces. You can create company profiles on the social media sites your target audience uses the most to make it easy for customers to find you and interact.
7. Respond right away
One of the most important steps of starting and maintaining a customer relationship is being responsive and communicative. When customers can trust that you’ll reply to their needs right away, they’ll have an incentive to keep using your services and build a long-term relationship. Strive to respond to messages from customers as quickly as possible to engage them before they get distracted or move on to a competitor. Set policies guaranteeing a response within a certain time frame and always try to be faster than that time.
8. Set consistent quality controls
Having strict quality standards ensures that customers receive consistent quality every time they do business with your company. Setting up quality assurance policies gives you the opportunity to prevent any issues before they impact the customer, presenting a reliable, positive image to all clients.
9. Follow up regularly
It’s normal for customer engagement to fluctuate over time, which is why following up is a great strategy for balancing long-term customer relationships. If a customer hasn’t made a purchase in a while, reach out to ask about any services they could use in the near future. This can help you prevent customers from switching to a competitor by reminding them of the positive connection they already have with your business.
10. Personalize all communications
Personalizing communications with customers by calling them by name is a simple and effective strategy for developing customer relationships. You can use mailing list software to automatically fill in customer names in form emails, or add extra customization by writing personal letters to clients. Customers often appreciate getting personalized attention and feel more attached to brands that interact with them on a personal level.
11. Keep detailed customer files
Show customers that you care by referencing their customer files and account information during interactions. Keeping detailed records on customer interactions can allow you to reference previous purchases, efficiently respond to customer service tickets and look for patterns in customer behavior. By recording information about each interaction you have with your customers, you can quickly reference a customer’s experiences with your brand and even build a sense of nostalgia with them.
12. Find ways to reward loyalty
Loyalty programs are an effective tool for improving customer relations. When customers have an incentive to make purchases from your company, they’ll feel more motivated to stay loyal to your brand. You can also make customers feel valued by sending discounts after large orders or during the customer’s birthday month.
What Is Customer Relations?
Customer relations refers to the process used by businesses to engage with customers and foster long-term relationships with them. Right from assisting customers with their day-to-day queries to creating long-term policies that lead to customer success, customer relations encompasses a lot of activities. When done right, it can lead to positive outcomes such as higher customer retention, increased customer lifetime value (CLV), and stronger customer relationships.
At some point or the other, you must have used the terms customer service and customer relations interchangeably. Although they might appear to be similar, the truth is that both these terms are quite different.
Customer service usually involves assisting customers when something goes wrong. Businesses respond to customer issues or requests in-person or via communication channels such as phone, email, chat, or social media.
On the other hand, customer relations adopt a long-term approach. In addition to encompassing all of the important functions that customer service performs, customer relations also includes strategies to improve customers’ future experiences and their overall journey with your brand.