How do you improve the relationship with your customers?

Loyal customers are what any business owner want. Once your business is set up and you are selling your products or services, loyal customers are the one important thing to focus on. Maintaining and improving the relationship with your customers is essential to ensure that customers will come back. Data shows that retaining an existing customer is more than 7 times cheaper than attracting a new customer. But how do you create loyal customers and improve your relationship with them? And what does all this mean in reality? Below we have listed some actions for you to make today:

 Make it easy for your customer to get in contact

Today’s customer is demanding, well informed and wants to be able to get in touch with your business in many ways. Limited opening hours, and only being accessible by phone is nowadays not enough. Customers like to choose their preferred channel of communication; a so-called multi-channel customer contact approach. This often leads to more loyal customers who will eventually spend more. When customers feel that they are not being helped quickly (or well enough), they might show their dissatisfaction on social media or in reviews. Any business owner would like to avoid that. That’s why you should take a careful look at the current channels through which you are currently available, and judge for yourself whether this is enough.  As a checklist, make sure the contact details of your five most important communication channels are easy to find:

  • Telephone
  • E-mail
  • Your website
  • Social media handles
  • Google (Google my business), more on how to here

Make every moment of contact matter

Today purchase behavior is changing. A purchase is rarely based on one interaction or impulse. In fact, during the purchase process the customer gets in touch with the supplier several times. These contact moments are also called ‘touch points’ in a consumer journey. Each touchpoint is an opportunity to improve the relationship with your customers by

  • responding quickly to any inquiry
  • acting proactively
  • using the right tone in all your communication
  • addressing customers personally
  • always trying to add value

Proactive communication with your customers often prevents problems from arising. Think about how other companies do this: your telephony provider who informs you via a text message about maintenance or an e-mail from your internet provider with the announcement that you have a few days before your invoice is overdue. Whatever type of product you sell, being proactive is important. Don’t wait but communicate in advance with your customers. This will create trust and a strong relationship.

Manage expectations

Make sure that you manage and meet the expectations of your customers. Be honest in your communication and promise nothing you can’t fulfill. Have you promised a customer to let him know before Thursday if a particular item is still available? If so, why not get back to him on Tuesday already? This way you will exceed expectations. Place clear information on your website and make sure that your customer’s expectations are well managed, to avoid (unpleasant) surprises afterwards. This goes for anything from opening hours to responding times and return policy.

Think customer-oriented instead of organization-oriented

There is a clear difference between organizational thinking and customer-oriented thinking. Do you want to further improve the relationship with your customers? Then try to think more customer-oriented and understand the needs of your customer. When you ask yourself which products you can sell to customers, why not ask yourself how you can help them. Never make excuses like “I can’t help it that the package has not yet been shipped, it’s out of my hands”. This is a so-called non-customer-oriented action. In the end, the customer does business with you so you are responsible, even if the problem may lie elsewhere.

Take care of satisfied customers

When customers are satisfied after doing business with you, they will return. And don’t forget about customer advocacy either. Happy customers will recommend you to family and friends, and maybe even post on social media. So, don’t forget to check customer satisfaction regularly via a satisfaction survey or just ask them. Do you come across some improvement points? Then act immediately! If you take your customers criticism seriously, they will appreciate to how you’ve handled it! In the end, your customers are the best advisors to improve your business.

 Choose a personal approach

When you make clear agreements about when, how often and through which channels you communicate, you make an enormous improvement in your communication. Do you want to take customer service to the next level? Then go for a personal approach by a permanent contact person and invite customers to a Friday afternoon drink or host a webinar. You can also apply this way of personal approach through loyalty programs. Reward loyal customers with free products, discounts or special promotions. Customers will feel appreciated are much more likely to make a repeat purchase. For example, add the Savings Points System to your webshop (found here in the CCV Shop App Store)  or create a simple loyalty system with saving your loyal customers name, mail adress and birthday. Why not send a promotion code or voucher for their birthday?

 Know your customer and listen

Many people love attention, including your customers. By giving customers more attention than they expect, you’ll let them know that they are important to you. Listen to any problems that the customer is experiencing and try to resolve them together. Customers will appreciate your empathy. Do not let the conversation become too formal and try to ask when you do not fully understand something. In the end, always make sure that the customer always gets the best value for his money , and thereby prevent customers from thinking that they are better off elsewhere. This makes it clear that a good customer relationship is very important to you, and they will probably really appreciate the effort.

 Know what you’re talking about

By blogging and sending regular newsletters to your customers, you show that you know what you are talking about. As a result, customers will see you as the expert and will trust your advice. By sharing useful knowledge, you will be able to help your customers by providing them new information and inspire. This This added value is what truly can create loyal customers.

What can loyal customer do for you?

When you try to improve the relationship with your customers by applying the above tips, you may be wondering: what exactly do I get out of this? Below we have summed up just a few business benefits that will come from great customer focus;

– Increase your turnover (you sell more to the same customer, and may even increase your prices because loyal customers are more willing to pay more)

– Reduction of your marketing costs (keeping current customers cheaper than attracting new customers)

– More direct advertising (loyal customers tell you about your web shop to friends and family)

– Competitive advantage (when a customer has a good relationship with you and is satisfied, he has less intention of exchanging product and thus provider)

In short: improve your customer relationship, and you will see that you get a lot out of it. Take the time to determine your own strategy and make sure all your shop staff know what to do. Good luck!

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