Building a relationship between a business and its customers is the same as building any other relationship. You need to look at the other party as a fullyrounded human being and not just as an object. You have to make an effort to understand their needs and desires, and to find a way to meet them while staying true to your own core values. Ultimately, it’s about building on that initial attraction in order to forge something meaningful and long-lasting that aligns with and satisfies the goals and ambitions of both parties.
Is your customer right for you?
A lasting relationship has to start with finding the right person. It’s a very rare business that finds that its products or services appeal to everyone. For most companies, there’s a particular demographic to which their core customer base belongs. Identify that demographic and find out how to appeal to it. Don’t try to be all things to all people, but find the customers that will really value what you have to offer. You can then show them exactly why they need your business in their life.
Make a personal connection
A person becomes a customer when they buy your product, but if you want a lasting business relationship with them, you have to get personal. Use your website, email, social media and other points of contact to make them feel like they know you, and more importantly, that you know them. Email outreach tools can be used to personalize every communication and interaction you have with them. Using their name and tailoring content according to their buying history is just the beginning.
Understand what they want
Understanding what a particular customer wants from your brand is the key to making sure that they stick around. Different customers may buy from you for a variety of different reasons, and they may be quite different again from your initial conception of your brand’s unique selling point. Thorough market research and analysis can reveal surprising truths, all of which will help you improve the user experience for your customers, and keep them coming back.
Make them feel special
Build on this understanding of your customer’s unique needs with great customer service at all levels. One advantage that a small business has over a large corporation is that it’s easier for them to genuinely get to know all of their customers and to build a one-to-one relationship with them. As your company grows, this gets harder to achieve. Keep as much information on them as you can, recording their purchases and transactions so that you can refer back to these when needed.
Some customers like to talk about their experiences more than others. Encourage these people to share their feelings in the form of reviews, social media posts and blogs. Word-of-mouth recommendations from someone trusted is the best form of marketing, and the original customer will feel a closer sense of association and community with your business. By making them a brand ambassador, you’re welcoming them into the family.
Customer relationships require constant work, but that effort will pay off in the end. Value your customers and they will value you, leaving everybody better off down the line.