Building trust in customer relationships
Most of us work so hard to attract new customers, we forget about the ones we already have. But loyal customers can be the bread and butter for businesses, and need to be treated accordingly.
What most customers expect from businesses is pretty simple: consistency, respect, timeliness and a product deserving of their money. If you deliver this consistently customers are guaranteed to repeat their custom and may even turn into advocates for your business or product.
A business can be built on the level of customer service it provides. While a customer, or client, may initially be attracted by value for money or unique product offering, there will be no loyalty without great customer service from a team.
Part of building customer loyalty is being available when your customers need you, not the other way around. If you have a phone, answer it, if you have a social media presence, reply to your followers and if customers are encouraged to email you, check it and reply regularly.
If you can’t always be near your phone, think about having it forwarded to a mobile or to another location where it will be answered. Don’t leave customers on hold too long either, this is a sure fire way of ensuring they complain either to their friends or potentially, even worse, on social media.
Check all of your communication channels regularly in order to ensure a positive experience for customers.
Give them what they want
If someone provides feedback about your service or product, listen and take appropriate action. Even if it’s just one person bringing up an issue, investigate the problem, it may well be a valid complaint and will stop other customers from having the same trouble.
Also, let the person know that you have acknowledged what they have said and will be taking it into consideration. If you do fix the problem, let them know, this may entice them back to your business. If you don’t change anything, also let them know why. A quick email, phone call or DM on Twitter will make them feel valued and appreciated.
If it’s positive feedback, thank the person who sent it to you and let your team know what they are doing right, they may be inspired to work even harder for you after some congratulations on a job well done.
Relationships take work
Just like every aspect of a business, customer relationships need to be nurtured and worked on. Spending time on attracting new customers is vital, but don’t forget about those who are regulars. As well as bringing money into the business, they may also be advocates for your products or services, telling others where to go when they need their car fixed, or where they can buy the freshest tomatoes.
Always be pleasant and available to these people. It could be as simple as remembering their name, or something they told you in passing. Even complimenting them if they come into your store, can build goodwill.
Every interaction counts, from the way you answer the phone, to how fast you reply through your website. Be helpful and pleasant every step of the way, it counts for a lot when someone is deciding which business they would like to buy a product or service from.
Positive customer relationships are core to the success of your business, but yet can be forgotten with so many other things demanding attention. The relationship determines whether a customer will choose to purchase from you or not, tell others good or bad things about your brand, or return to your business in the future.
Zintel delivers call tracking solutions which help businesses monitor, optimise and measure both online and offline marketing. They have more than 2,700 customers in Australia that range from small and medium-sized businesses to government organisations and multinational corporations. Zintel is part of the Zintel Group of companies which has successfully been delivering solutions to businesses for more than 15 years.
About the author: Kim Irvine – General Manager Zintel http://www.zintel.com.au/