Customer Relationships in Business: How to Build Customer Loyalty
Customer relationships are critical to the success of any business. The happier and more satisfied the customer, the lower your retention and acquisition costs. But how do you make your customers happy? How does your business encourage customer loyalty?
These are fundamental questions for any growing business.
In this post, we’ll give you a framework for building a loyal customer base and discuss what it takes to build a customer-friendly business.
The Stages of Customer Relationships
Customer relationships are all about the journey that you take your customers on. You have to think of them as a ladder, where you start on the ground and slowly build up their experience with you. Here are the stages of customer relationships:
The first stage of the customer relationship journey is awareness. You have to make sure that your customers know that you exist for them to purchase your product. Without this part, the sales journey won’t get started.
For example, if no one knows about your business, there’s no chance they’ll be browsing for your products or services, so there’s no way for them to ever find out about it.
In this stage, a potential customer becomes aware of your business and is interested in what you have to offer. Before they can purchase from you, they need to be sure that you’ll provide the best value for their money. They may ask for information, research your company, or read customer reviews.
Intentions & Actions
Once the potential customer has decided that they’ll purchase from you, then they’re ready to take action! This stage is where purchase decisions are made; they either decide to buy or not.
If you’re successful in convincing them that they should purchase from you, then the next stage is when the actual purchasing occurs. Whether this is online or at a physical store, there are numerous ways for customers to make their final purchase.
Loyalty & Retention
The last stage is the long-term relationship between you and your customers. This is when they become loyal to your business and keep purchasing from you, bringing their friends and family members along with them. If it’s done right, then most of your new customers will come from old ones.
How to Build and Maintain Effective Customer Relationships in Your Business
Know What Drives the Customer
People have various motivations for choosing a specific product or service. Sometimes they’re motivated by price and convenience, but also by trust. If you don’t have the time to develop solid and profitable relationships with your customers, you risk losing them to a company who will.
Don’t sit behind a desk all day expecting customers to come knocking. Be available and accessible around the clock. Participating in social networks is the best way to do this. Online communities provide a direct line of contact with your potential and existing customers. You should never underestimate the power of good customer care and community engagement.
Focus on the Customer
Customers can be your business’ biggest advocates or detractors. If you don’t care for them, they will tell others about their bad experience and warn them away from using your services and products. Investing in customer retention and satisfaction is one of the most effective ways to build a loyal customer base.
Keep the Brand Consistent Across Channels
There are several ways to communicate with your customers including email, phone, text, social media, and other channels. This is why consistency across all channels is important. If someone contacts you on a different platform or device from where they first heard about you, it’s important to make them feel like they are still valued.
Build an Inviting Website
An appealing website is crucial for attracting new customers. Your site should be attractive, user-friendly, and informative. Here are some helpful tips for creating a customer-friendly site:
- Keep it simple
- Design for your audience
- Content is king
Your site should be inviting, engaging and provide valuable information. The easier you can make it for customers to find information about your company, products and services, the better.
Leverage the Power of Referrals and Recommendations
Recommendations from friends and relatives carry a lot of weight when it comes to purchasing decisions. Encourage your existing customers to refer their contacts, colleagues, and friends by offering them discounts or other incentives. This strategy can be highly effective in building your customer base.
Create a Customer Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs are designed to build better, longer lasting relationships with your customers. The more they buy from you, the bigger their perks. Loyalty programs effectively keep your business at the front of the customer’s mind and encourage them to revisit time after time. This strategy is more successful when the customer clearly understands the reward they will receive.
Measure Your Success
Customer experience is all about feedback. You can access valuable feedback through social media, customer surveys, and questionnaires. Use the information you receive to improve your business practices, customer service, website content, and marketing strategies.
To have a successful business, you must understand your customers and the market in which you operate. By keeping them happy and providing them with value, they will remain loyal. A satisfied customer is key to a successful business.