Why You Need to Be Building Ongoing Relationships With Your Customers (And Not Just Thinking About Once-Off Sales)

By Hâfi Martinsdóttir

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes | 1810 words

Improving customer experience as they interact with your brand has never been more important. We all know that customer service should be one of our business’ top priorities, after all it’s proven that building customer trust and loyalty pays dividends down the road. In this article I will cover 3 reasons why it’s crucial to your business’ growth and then share with you 7 ways how to start building great relationships today.

“The key to any successful company is being customer-centric. As we work with our customer base, it’s driven us more into a service business” – Tom Bucklar, Caterpillar

Why 01: Your Competition Won’t Be Able to Touch You

Building customer loyalty to your brand will leave your competitors in the dark. Think about it, if you produce a new product or service, your competitors will purchase your product, or experience your service, and dissect it to the very last detail before rebuilding it themselves. This leaves you vulnerable.

But your competitors have no way of dissecting the relationships that you build with your customers.

Your customer relationships should be built on a foundation of trust, respect and lots of communication. It’s important that you listen to what your customers have to say and show them that their opinions matter by implementing any helpful suggestions or requests they might have. 

Building relationships with your clients is where the gold lies. Your competitors can dissect your products, services, your work, but one thing they cannot dissect or touch is your relationships and loyalty that you have built with your clients.

Why 02: Gain More Refferals

By focusing on building stronger relationships, you are investing into the most powerful marketing tool you have at your disposal; word of mouth recommendations. If you can give your current customers a service that far exceeds their expectations, they’re going to be telling other people and referring them to your service. Everyone wants to think they can help a friend out by recommending a great product, service or company. Make it easy for them to do so by offering a “recommend a friend and receive X discount” option.

People are 92% more likely to listen and trust a word of mouth recommendation than any advertising. So to get ahead of your competition, and even for the very survival of your business, you need to start listening, communicating and leading with remarkable customer service.

Why 03: Increase Repeat Customers

We all know that people who have tried your product or service once are much more likely to purchase from you again.  On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10x as much as their first purchase and seeing as it can cost 5 times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep current ones, working hard to continue growing strong relationships is where you need to be focusing your energy.

So how do you ensure you build great customer relationships that ensure repeat purchases, positive referrals and long-lasting loyalty?

How 01: Start Listening

First of all, make it easy for your customers to get in touch with you. There’s nothing worse than having a company who is hard to reach out to or that take days to reply.

I would highly recommend placing a messenger chatbox on your website (you can see mine in the bottom right corner of this page) and have it manned 24/7. By providing multiple avenues for people to communicate with you it allows them to choose which one they prefer. 

Your customers need to know that you’re there for them and nowadays people expect immediate responses. If you can help them out and be there for them when they need you, they are more likely to trust you and recommend you to others.

It’s also reported that chatbots can help businesses save on customer service costs by speeding up response time and answering routine questions.

How 02: Develop a Subscription Service

One of the best ways to grow customer loyalty over time is by offering a subscription service. It’s no longer good enough to entice someone to purchase your product and then forget about them because you’re satisfied you got your sale.

The subscription economy is on the rise. By offering a cheaper monthly price for an ongoing subscription service, just like Netflix, it gives your customers flexibility to choose how to do business with you, either via a once-off more expensive short-term fee, or through and ongoing but cheaper subscription. That way they can receive the benefits of your service immediately without having to fork out a huge amount of money in one go.

A subscription service keeps you top of mind each month and makes it easier for your subscription clients to refer you to others. 

It allows you to grow with your customer, understand exactly what it is they want through regular communication and keeps your business and them very much intertwined.

By constantly being connected to your customers through providing an ongoing service, you’re able to constantly evolve and adapt. Your service is essentially always in beta mode, you can continue to tweak, modify and adjust as your customers require you to do so. This keeps you in touch with their needs and allows you access to priceless data on how your customers think, feel and operate.

With a traditional business model where you sell a customer a product and then never hear from them again you don’t get any feedback or helpful data to improve. You got your once off sale but that’s it. It doesn’t encourage loyalty or referrals.

The subscription economy is on the rise and if you want to stay ahead then you need to start thinking about it in relation to your business and the services that you offer. It can take creativity and it might not work for every single product or service you offer but by creating a subscription service you’ll also guarantee recurring revenue each month/year for your business which takes the pressure off a feast/famine cycle. How’s that for some much-needed breathing room to grow your business?

How 03: Place Your Customers at the Centre of Your Business

You should first and foremost be thinking about your customer. What products and services do they need? Investigate, produce and test your ideas. Rather than creating a product and then trying to find an audience for it, first find an audience and produce a product or service for them. Your customers should be at the forefront of all your business decisions. As Zuora, one of the leaders of the subscription economy says; “This is the 21st Century. We’re all in the relationship business”.

How 04: Utilise Email Marketing

Stay top of mind with your customers by utilising the power of email marketing. 

By consistently adding value to them via emails and connecting regularly, you open the gates of communication and position yourself as a reliable business and one that they can trust. 

It also ensures that when they’re ready to reuse your services that your brand is easily remembered and accessible to them.

I have written more about the incredible effects of email marketing in these articles here:

The 5 Stages of Organic Online Marketing Explained, How to Stay Top of Mind With Your Customers & 6 Key Ways to Grow Your Business Online

How 05: Create Memorable Experiences

Another great way to build quality relationships with your customers is by offering them an experience. This is called experiential marketing. People are beginning to change the way they want to do business with you, they no longer just want to own products, they are now more driven to enjoy new experiences and you can offer them that.

Provide your customers with a memorable experience that they can share with their friends and online. 

An astounding 91% of consumers say they have more positive feelings about brands after attending events and experiences.

Experiences can range from tasting sessions if you’re a winery, beautiful gift wrapping with a surprise gift inside delivered to their door, to organising a concert at one of your locations for your customers.

It takes some creativity but as people make their final purchase decision with their feelings rather than their logical brain, associating your brand with a happy memory is a powerful way to encourage them to purchase from you and like you.

How 06: Invest in the Growing Power of Video

Video is fast becoming utilised as a top way to stand out and grow relationships. People are 300% more likely to open an email containing a video than just a plain text email. By integrating video within your business you’re able to ensure your customers feel involved and connected to your business rather than your brand appearing to hide behind big corporate faceless walls. It adds personality to your brand which is crucial when it comes to standing out. It allows people get to know you. When people feel more connected to your business, they are more likely to do business with you, trust you and recommend you to others.

For example if someone orders a product you can assign that customer to one of your team to send a very short 30 second video saying “Hi (insert name of customer)! I’m (your name) and I work in the (department name) of (your company). Thank you for purchasing our (name product) we really hope you enjoy using it! Don’t forget to leave us a review by clicking the link below the video and letting us know what you think. If you have any questions you can always reach out to use by our website chatbox. But for now, enjoy your new (product name)!”

The whole point of sending the video is to show the humanity and personality behind your brand. It’s a great, personal touch to give people. Don’t forget to use that individual’s name so that they really see it’s a genuine and personal video rather than a general, automated one.

When 86% of consumers say loyalty is primarily driven by likability and 83% of consumers say trust, it’s time to invest in video to encourage both within your customer base.

I personally use Bonjoro to add some vitality and personality to my client messaging. Not only does it help me to get an important point across easier than by text-only email, but it also creates a stronger connection between my clients and I.

How 07: Reach Out and Have Conversations

Don’t be afraid to reach out and call or chat to your customers. These calls should not be focused on sales at all, simply having conversations, seeing how they enjoyed your product/service and if they have any questions or need some help. This can naturally lead to another sale immediately or it might not, but one thing it does do is show that you care and that you are there for them. This will build loyalty over time and ensure they recommend you to others.

Conclusion

Simply selling once-off products or services is not enough anymore. People expect ongoing service and support from you. Your customers want to be loyal to your brand, you just have to help grow their trust by placing your customer in the centre and caring for them as their needs change and evolve over time.

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