Cultivating Strong Customer Relationships

There’s a restaurant just down the street from our house that has excellent food, and our waistlines prove that we take part in the weekly specials…. often…

But it’s not just the food that keeps us coming back for more! We return because of the relationships that we’ve built with the employees. And because of the cookie that the owner gave my daughter to have her taste test his newest recipe. 

In today’s busy world, the impact of developing strong customer relationships is essential. Business owners must work twice as hard to build a loyal customer base and keep the relationship successful for both sides. Here are some tips for cultivating strong customer relationships for your business:

A focus on retaining your current customers should be the center of your business plan. It’s so much easier to retain a current customer than to recruit a brand new one. If you take the time to nurture your current customer relationships, you can not only keep your customers but encourage them to come back more frequently or make larger purchases. This will also encourage them to pass the positive word on about your business. Thinking about how to entice current customers to stay with you, try new product offerings or services or expand on your relationship with more complex purchases should be central to your business plan. When a customer makes a purchase from you, that should be the start of your relationship! 

Personalized communications with your customers can help you maintain your current base and recruit many new ones. Instead of mass emails or social media posts with the latest sales and offers, try to understand, and come up with creative ways to better personalize your messages. For example, if I’m a customer who always purchases a particular clothing brand from my favorite shop, I would prefer an email or post letting me know when that brand is on sale or has new offerings that I can browse in the store or online. Remember, not all your communication should be about your company trying to sell something. 

Building and maintaining strong relationships sets the bar higher than your competition. Go above and beyond to surprise and delight your customers. This will keep them making return visits to your business and referring their friends and neighbors as well. In every interaction, make sure that they walk away fully satisfied. When you listen to your customers, acknowledge their concerns, and correct any problems or issues that they encounter, you’ll make a lasting impression.

Loyalty programs are a great way to build and maintain a strong customer base. A popular idea involves earning points for every purchase that can later be exchanged for goods or services. While this is a good start and certainly better than nothing at all, savvy companies often get more creative. Consider referral programs that offer a benefit for both the existing customer and new customer! Offer discounts at a companion store. For example, a coffee shop may offer a future discount at the local brewery for after-hours drinks and vice versa. Use your creativity to get customers excited about spending time and money with your establishment.

In conclusion, building your brand and business starts and ends with your customers! Get innovative and personal with your audience and you’ll keep them coming back to your business in the same way my family plans to get takeout from the local restaurant we love later this week!

Written by Blog Contributor: Jennifer Hicks