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How To Build Customer Relationships That Increase Repeat Business

by Ben Spradling | Mar 31, 2022 12:00:00 PM

Think of all the thought you’ve put into the growth of your small business. The strategizing, the calculating, the concern. If all that mulling didn’t include at least some attention to your customer relationships, then it likely may have been misplaced.

That’s because successful customer relationships are often the key to bypassing the stressful financial ups and downs of running a business, and they set your company up for the longhaul. And why is that? Well, repeat customers spend about 67 percent more money than new customers, and relationships are often what unlocks their desire to keep coming back.

The better your business is at making its customers feel appreciated, the more likely it is that customers will return to your products and services. That’s really something to think about. So, let’s take a look at what makes a good customer relationship and dive into how you can form those connections at your company.

What makes a good customer relationship?

The simplest way to describe the qualities that define a good customer relationship may be to identify the qualities that don’t. For starters, your approach to building customer relationships should be different than your customer service efforts. What separates the two is timing and tone.

As HubSpot points out, customer service has a more immediate function. Most often, it occurs when a customer experiences an issue using your products or services. Your company is essentially responding to an action taken by the customer, such as calling about charges on a recent bill or invoice. The point of customer service is to solve a pressing need.

Customer relationships, on the other hand, are a much longer and often more positive play. Your focus is on customers’ future experiences with your company. The endgame is an engaging connection with customers that fosters their success using your products and services. They know your company understands their needs, so they continue coming back to your brand.

Why are good customer relationships important?

Repeat customers can be some of your most potent brand champions.

Let’s not bury the lede here: Positive customer relations directly influence your business’s bottom line. More specifically, they increase sales. Because you continue to check in with your customers and look after their needs, you’re their first destination when they need products and services your business provides.

Numbers show that the likelihood of making a sale to an existing customer can reach as high as 70 percent, while the probability of selling to a new client could dip as low as five percent. Those existing customers are also 50 percent more likely to try your new products. The load of selling your products and services is lighter if your customers already have a positive relationship with you.

There are reputational dividends to be paid as well. If they continue to have great experiences interacting with your company, customers are going to share those encounters either online or in-person. Maybe your company is even the first one they recommend.

None of those bottom-line benefits happen without establishing a foundation of trust with your customers. Building relationships in business matters. So, it’s important you know how to do it.

How to develop strong customer relationships.

Keep in Touch

Like any close relationship, authentic communication is the secret to staying together. Your connection with your customers is no different. They want to hear from you, but when you chime in, the conversation needs to be about more than just the latest deals your company is pushing.

Some of the best ways to speak on a deeper level are to leverage tools such email marketing and social media platforms. For example, sending newsletters that deliver insights for your services or tips on using your products. Social media also allows you to proactively provide updates on upcoming or ongoing issues related to your services.

Keep Responding

How readily would you trust someone you feel isn’t really listening to what you have to say? You can’t expect customers to care about your company if they don’t feel you’re concerned about their experiences using your products and services.

That’s why responding to reviews and complaints should be an essential part of your business’s approach to customer relationships. Show appreciation following a great review and exhibit sincerity when provided criticisms. Those follow-ups add to the attachment customers have with your brand.

A recent BrightLocal survey stated that “89 percent of consumers are 'highly' or 'fairly' likely to use a business that responds to all of its online reviews.” Don’t lose business by failing to acknowledge what your customers are saying.

Keep Your Word

This one’s a biggie. It may seem like a no-brainer to honor your promises with customers, but it’s not always that easy. Mistakes happen, and when they do, reputations and relationships take a hit.

It’s important to do the best thing you can in those situations: Make things right. If your customers’ expectations are at risk of not being met, then let them know immediately about your plan to fulfill your end of the transaction. Identifying and then correcting an issue may even bring you and your customer closer together.

Keep Thanking

Don’t take your customer relationships for granted. Your business relies on those connections to succeed. Take the time to let your most loyal customers know how grateful you are for their devotion.

Those expressions of appreciation can arrive in several forms. Depending on the size of your team, literal thank you notes serve as nice, personalized touchpoints. Providing free items or installing customer loyalty programs are effective ways to show thanks as well.

Keep Collecting Feedback

A lot of what was shared earlier regarding responsiveness applies here, too. Customers want to know you care about their experiences with your company. What’s different about collecting and acting on customer feedback, though, is that it can proactively alert you of their expectations.

How you gather that feedback – and how often it’s collected – depends on what works best for your business (online surveys seem to be the go-to route for many companies). The important thing is that you activate the feedback you receive. Use it to improve processes, interactions, and outcomes that ultimately grow your relationships with customers.

How does your business build good customer relationships?

Speaking of feedback, we want to learn how your business builds and maintains its relationships with customers. From sending out surveys to responding to reviews, leave a comment below to let us know the best ways your operation identifies and acts to meet customer expectations. 

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