When it comes to customer relationship trends, if you want to succeed in today’s market you don’t just want to make the sale. You need to be able to cultivate a long-term partnership with your customers. Too often, businesses spend the bulk of their time chasing “new” sales, all the while failing to understand that current customers can be a good source of additional business. As a consultant, I often come across companies making the mistake of not managing customer relationships. When I survey a few of their current customers, I find they only know about a single product or service being offered by the company. And, if they hear from the company after the sale, it’s usually to only to try to make another sale. This results in a revolving door of customers, which is often quite expensive for the brand.
Below are some tips to help manage and cultivate your customer relationships.
Connect with Your Customers
Connect with your customers on a level which supersedes the business of the transaction. Get to know them and develop a rapport. If customers feel a connection with you, they will begin to trust you and your recommendations. Always be honest and don’t oversell your product. Instead, demonstrate to them that you are not just in it to make a sale; but you want to earn their long-term business.
Listen to your Customers
What your customers want and what you sell might be two different things. Listen to what they are asking for and understand their needs. Don’t sell or push something they don’t need. Try to find a solution, even if it means sending them somewhere else for that particular need. Case in point: my husband was recently fixing something at our home and asked me to run to the hardware store to pick up a part. I went to the store and could not find the part, so I asked for help. The employee told me that they no longer carried it and directed me to their competitor. I thanked him and told him that although he didn’t make a sale today, the fact that he listened and didn’t try to sell me something I did not need earned his company loyal customers for life.
Reach Out on a Regular Basis
Don’t just contact your customers when you need them or want to make a sale. Reach out to them on a regular basis! Check in to see how your product and/or service is working for them and ask if they need anything else or if you can help. Some companies find this cumbersome, and don’t necessarily have the internal resources to make contact with customers on a regular basis. If this is the case, don’t be afraid to explore outsourcing opportunities with temp agencies or call centers like Global Response. There are affordable options to help your company reach out on a regular basis.
Provide Customers with Ongoing Resources
Resources, helpful tips and guidance go a long way with customers. Developing an informative e-newsletter can help keep your business on the forefront of your customer’s minds. Providing useful information (not a sales pitch) will not only entice them to read it, but encourage them to share it with their friends. Constant Contact is an example of one of the more popular e-newsletter service providers.
Cultivating and managing your customer relationships is probably one of the most important roles you have in business. Often, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow exists within your own customer database!
Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications on behalf of a number of companies. Smith covers the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries.