Getting consumers to make a purchase from your company is the first step to transforming them to into customers. Once someone is a customer, you need to establish a relationship to retain their business long-term. Satisfied customer retention is the key to moving from good selling to great selling as a business.
Of course, building long-lasting relationships with customers doesn’t just happen by accident. Providing quality services is directly related to customer satisfaction and, as a result, establishing long-term customer relationships.
Learn to improve on these types of quality services to start connecting with customers and building loyalty:
1. Always Be Honest
Loyalty is always based on trust. There’s no surer way to break customers’ trust than to lie or practice deceit. Whether it’s not following up on an offer or marketing something in a way that creates confusion, deceitful business practices are damaging. Being unclear can also come across as deceitful.
To ensure your business interacts honestly with consumers, building their trust and loyalty, try:
- Assigning a staff member to fact-checking all publicity
- Establishing a system for follow-up with customers
- Using transparent marketing and pricing methods
Simple practices like these can enhance consumer perception and show that your business is worthy of a long-lasting relationship.
2. Apologize When You Make Mistakes
The truth is your business isn’t perfect. Sometimes marketing campaigns, advertisements, customer service, and other facets of business get messed up. Customers understand that everyone makes mistakes.
Your company will earn respect and be relatable to customers when you apologize for mistakes. If the error is widespread, make a public apology. Otherwise, be sure to reach out to customers with private apologies. Offer discounts or other appreciative tokens to indicate you want to make up for messing up.
3. Give Customers Options for Communication
As Forbes points out, customers depend on businesses to communicate with them about products, services, changes, prices, and more. Being highly communicative and clear in all communications will make customers happy with your company. However, you can communicate too much.
Customers want to hear from your business, but not constantly. In fact, many have spam filters established so that overly-communicative company’s materials are automatically blocked. Acting like a spammer is no way to build long-term connections. Instead, offer customers options to choose what kinds of information they receive from your company, how often, and through what mode (like via text, email, or snail mail.)
4. Make Sure Your Customer Service is Awesome
Though you may hope your customers never have an issue that requires them to contact customer service, the fact is that many returning customers need assistance at times. Whether it’s needing assistance locating an item in a store or returning a product purchased online, customers will interact with customer service personnel.
Customer service experience also really matters. Statistics show that bad customer service reports reach twice as many ears as praise for a company. That costs your business new consumers and affects current customers’ willingness to stay loyal to your relationship. Many consumers simply stop returning to businesses when they hear about bad customer service.
Take steps to ensure your customer service rocks:
- Provide training to customer service staff
- Establish a quick, easy protocol for customers who need help
- Get back to customers quickly
- Offer freebies or discounts to make up for disappointments
- Create multiple ways for consumers to get ahold of customer service easily
Actions like these can step your customer service provision up to the next level. As a result, customers are likely to report that they are happy to seek assistance and resolve issues because your business is great to its valued customers.
5. Keep Up With Consumer Trends
Nothing stays completely the same. Never get too comfortable with your customer demographics or you may become irrelevant, making customers lose interest in their relationship with your business. For example, if you have had a demographic of young parents for many years, adapt your marketing over the years because those same parent-customers are growing up.
Besides regularly performing demographic research and analysis, keep up with the latest trends. Monitor customer behavior as well. Everything from your products to your online platforms to your marketing will need to adjust to trends to stay relevant.
6. Be Dependable
Your customers come to and have a relationship with your business for a reason. There is something you offer or do that they appreciate. Identify what that is and maintain it. This will make your business a “go-to” for customers, transforming your business into a staple in individuals’ lives. That kind of dependability tells customers they can rely on your business long-term, gaining you increased customer loyalty and trust.
7. Offer Security
Part of establishing trust with customers in order to build long-term connections is providing adequate security. Customers avoid or stop using businesses’ services when they sense there is a risk involved. Security measures range drastically.
For storefront businesses, it can be important to improve your parking space security. A great seller always secures the parking area where customers park their vehicles because customers shouldn’t have to worry while they visit the business.
Most any business should offer online shopping security measures too. Set up proper measures to protect against customer’s personal information being sold or financial information being stolen. Use certified payment platforms and require passwords and verification to protect customers.
Putting It All Together
Working on just one of these aspects of providing quality services isn’t likely to be enough. If you really want to move up from being a good seller to a great seller who has long-standing customer relationships, take a holistic approach. Assess your business to determine which areas you are weak in. Then, create and implement a plan of action.
Once you take steps to gain customer trust, let your customer base know. Remember that communication, honesty, dependability, and customer service are all important. Put them into practice right away by telling (or even asking) customers about improving your services for their benefit.