Developing strong customer relationships is essential for business success. This is common knowledge, or at least it should be.
One common mistake I see business owners make is this: They put so much focus on connecting with potential new customers that existing customers get put on the back burner.
According to a recent Acquisition vs. Retention survey, The likelihood of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the chances of selling to a new prospect is only 5-20%. Additionally, when compared to new customers, existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and typically spend 31% more.
Without customers- especially those that return for your products or services again and again- your business wouldn’t exist.
How Does Cultivating Stronger Customer Relationships Benefit You?
Let me count the ways.
- Stronger relationships lead to repeat business, which establishes a loyal customer base.
- Having an established customer base allows you to save money by cutting back on customer acquisition marketing spend.
- You’ll fully understand and easily anticipate the needs of your customers regardless of what stage of the relationship you’re in, giving you the opportunity to provide excellent customer service.
- The number of organic referrals will increase.
- Your business has a higher chance of generating positive reviews.
I could keep going, but I think you get the point.
No two customers are exactly alike, but each of them will pass through the same stages of the customer journey your brand provides for them. Strengthening relationships is an ongoing process, and if you’re wondering how to connect with customers in each stage of the relationship, keep reading!
How to Build Customer Relationships in Each Stage of Their Journey
Your relationship begins the moment your potential customers first become aware of your brand. This stage of their journey includes the action that occurs before a formal relationship is established. This connection could come from a Google search, a social media campaign, or even word-of-mouth.
How do you ensure potential customers make a connection in the first place? Strategic marketing. The right people need to see the right content at the right time. Research and analyze everything from your target audience to your industry leaders to your direct competition. A solid strategy is a must if you want to connect with quality leads.
But don’t get ahead of yourself. While connecting with new consumers is worth celebrating, they will not convert to paying customers this early on. Your goal during this stage is to capture consumers’ attention. Once that’s happened, you keep building from there.
So, you’ve connected with a potential customer, and now it’s time to nurture that connection through collaboration.
If you’re a business owner, you likely recognize the value of collaboration between colleagues. But did you know that you can benefit even more by collaborating with customers?
Collaborating with customers may look and feel a little different than collaborating with colleagues. It can happen in a variety of ways, big and small, including:
- Engaging with them on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and any other social platform they’re active on.
- Inviting them to attend business workshops or webinars.
- Developing personal connections via customer-centric events.
Our customers are the lifeblood of what we do, and therefore we want them to feel they are a part of our decision-making process and our brand. Whether it is through social interactions, live workshops, or feedback surveys, we are constantly listening to them, and based on what they are telling us, improving the customer experience.
– Sahar Meghani, Trunkaroo CEO
Relationships are built upon trust. After the collaboration phase, there should be a level of trust between you and the customer, and now it’s time to create!
And, for you business owners thinking something along the lines of: But, I own a clothing store/accounting firm/dance studio… I don’t create anything!
Every business, whether knowingly or unknowingly, creates a customer experience. A customer experience refers to the impression you leave with your customer, which directly influences how they think of your brand.
How do you create a great customer experience?
- Create a seamless UX (user experience).
- Respond promptly to their questions or comments.
- Understand and solve the customer’s challenge.
- Build a positive connection with your customers.
Let your customers know that you value their opinion. Ensuring customer satisfaction is key to getting repeat customers, positive reviews, and referrals – all of which can increase ROI and improve relationships.
Here are 5 easy steps to measure and confirm customer satisfaction:
- Outline your goals, and make a plan.
- Create a customer satisfaction survey.
- Choose your survey’s trigger and timing.
- Analyze the survey data.
- Make adjustments and repeat.
Let me tell you something I’m sure you already know- there is no business without a customer.
Now, let me tell you something else you probably already know but might not always remember – what you want your customers to give you, you must first offer them.
It’s not enough to send a customer satisfaction survey. Customers want to know that you’re thinking about them and still eager to help them.
How can you show your customer base that you’re committed to helping them?
- Show appreciation by rewarding long-term customers with a loyalty program.
- Tell your brand’s story and promote your solutions on platforms that your customers frequent.
- Follow up with them periodically after their purchase to ensure that they’re still satisfied and assist them further if need be.