First of all, what defines a good customer relationship?
We believe there are three main elements to a good customer relationship. First of all, good relations should be self-powered, in that they don’t require constant nurturing. Secondly, they should have clear upsides for both parties involved, and lastly, they should be long-term, with both customer and business understanding that this is going to be more than a single transaction.
With a good customer relationship established, a simple process kicks in. Your reputation improves, more customers find your product through positive recommendations and you can expect more growth. The more your reputation grows, the more likely it is that people will return. It’s a circular process that can reap endless rewards.
Loyal customers safeguard a sustainable revenue stream in your business and aid the circular process that benefits your business. These customers see you as the preferred option and will therefore continue to choose you over competitors.
There are three key ways to build this sort of preference among your customers;
- Value proposition: the customer needs to know exactly what to expect from your business to be able to compare it against competitors.
- Stop, look, listen: get really good at listening to your customers. Serving them well means spotting opportunities in both expected and unexpected ways.
- Provide help: offering help without being asked fosters immense goodwill, but try to be a guide as opposed to an expert.
With this achieved, there are then three further ways to encourage customers to be resilient to competition;
- Make switching costs visible: this is less about creating costly barriers to switching, and more about highlighting benefits. For example, instead of charging an admin fee for leaving, why not offer early access programmes for loyal customers?
- Be authentic in connections: look carefully at the way in which you speak to your customers. Be consistent across all channels and be led by your customers.
- Recognise, reward, respect: take time to work out who your most valuable customers are, then reward them and respect them. Loyalty is tested the minute something goes wrong. It’s vital to recognise that the customer is right, even if they are wrong.
Armed with all of this information, the power of customer recommendations is key to your business, so you should be in a position to encourage your old friends to help you make new ones.
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