Clients and customers are the lifeblood of any organization — if your clients are successful, your business will be successful. In order to ensure mutual success for both parties, you need to have a strong relationship in place. Obviously, having a product customers enjoy is extremely important, but the real difference between a satisfied customer and a long-term partnership depends upon having a good relationship with an open dialogue that leads to valuable feedback and improvements. Studies show again and again that repeat customers tend to spend more money on your brand and cost about five times less when it comes to retaining versus bringing in new customers.
It’s been said ad nauseum that we’re in a new virtual world. Building loyalty and strong client relationships across a full client base was never an easy task before the virtual meetings and Slack conversations. The state of today’s business world forced all of us to find new ways to connect and engage with our clients. Ensuring your organization is committed to building relationships leads to client trust, and ultimately a healthy and loyal customer base.
Below are my top tips for building customer loyalty at scale:
Use small, frequent gestures of appreciation. When it comes to letting your clients know you appreciate them, it’s the little things that count — not necessarily the big ones. Don’t get me wrong, shared experiences with clients like attending sporting events, concerts or nice dinners go a long way in building a relationship, but those are often saved for a smaller portion of your customer base. Thoughtful gestures across your entire client base, regardless of their MRR, can accomplish the same end results as bigger ticket items, but at a much broader scale. Working at Thnks has obviously brought this to the forefront for me personally. For example, it’s amazing what a “Night Off From Cooking” sent to a seemingly overworked customer can do. That small investment in the relationship shows your client that you’re listening to them beyond just the task at hand, and evokes an emotional reaction that’s invaluable to your relationship.
Understand what makes your customer tick. Having a solid grasp on your customer’s pain points as well as their preferences can help build trust between you. A few helpful questions to ask yourself when assessing how well you’ve gotten to know your client are:
- Do you understand what their challenges are?
- Are you in touch with their needs? Have those needs changed recently?
- Why are they using your solutions? What outcomes are they trying to achieve?
- How can our product make my client look like a hero in their organization?
Many customers know exactly what your solution is intended for at the initial point of sale, but may lose sight of those initial goals after a year or two. Being clear on those goals from the start, as well as keeping track of when those goals change, can help you to remind your customer what they can achieve with your solution and create greater success over time.
Ask for feedback. Honest client feedback is crucial throughout the customer life-cycle. Giving your client’s an avenue for feedback will:
- Evolve your product and offerings as your client’s needs change
- Build a strong trust between the client and your brand
- Gives your CX team a true view into potential risk
Customers that don’t hold back on feedback- good or bad- often end up being the best ones and stick around long term because they feel heard. It’s those that you never hear from that are most at risk. Proactively engaging with that silent group, and providing an outlet for feedback, uncovers a host of actions and improvements you can make to ensure they become healthy long-term clients.
Be a human. This one seems incredibly obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times professionalism gets in the way of actual human connection. Understanding stressors in a client’s day-to-day life or keeping track of special occasions can really set you apart and form the basis of a great relationship. The small talk actually does matter in terms of building loyalty in the long term and getting to know that individual better as a person.
The relationship you have with your clients is a key indicator of customer loyalty in the future. The goal is for clients to share with you that they’re winning, because your success hinges on their success. Customer loyalty can mean booming business in good times and keeping you afloat in the challenging times. All of the above tips can be helpful strategies in boosting your relationship skills and building trust with your customers.