I’m a natural born caregiver. Every personality test I’ve ever taken results in this very conclusion. And maybe it’s this innate ability to empathise with people that makes it so easy for me to understand and communicate “what customers want” from businesses.
For me, understanding client relationships isn’t rocket science. Essentially, it’s putting yourself in the shoes of your customer. So I’m going to do just that and let you know the basics of what I want from you.
Let me know I can trust you
Any good relationship is built on trust. A business-customer relationship is no different. No matter how I found you, I need to feel confident approaching your business that there will be no judgment and you will alleviate my anxieties in buying your product/service.
Deliver on your promise
When I found you, I really didn’t care about your logo or your website’s fancy images. It was your words that resulted in my decision to contact you and buy. But, ultimately, it’s your actions – delivering your promises – that will affect my long-term clientele.
Ensure your service is consistent
The time you have spent building trust with me, delivering your promises, will count for nothing if it’s not consistent. You must ensure everyone who represents your business is on the same page in terms of how you want me to feel.
Focus beyond Honeymoon period
So you’ve won me over with your great products and service. It may have taken a while to build my trust, or it may have been a quick romance; either way I’m in love and believe in you. So, don’t forget to continue to care about me after you have “won” the sale and move all your efforts onto someone new.
Reward my loyalty
Do you know how I feel when I see you reducing your price or providing extra service to a new customer? It hurts!
Do you reward me for quantity of products/services I buy? Or remember our anniversary? A simple gesture will go a long way to keep my relationship with you in my heart and mind. And it needn’t be expensive. Sometimes just acknowledging me in your marketing will make me feel special (all too easy today with Social Media!).
Customers are today’s marketers
We used to be told that a happy customer will only tell one person about your business versus an unhappy customer will tell ten. With the arrival of social media, I am telling thousands of people how I feel about you. Whether it’s to strangers via an online review or my friends on Facebook, I now market your business.
What better marketing could you get than me, a loyal customer, with no incentive other than wanting other people to experience how you make me feel. I would think my loyalty would be priceless, but is it to you?
If in doubt, think what you want as a customer
This article is by no means exhaustive or detailed, but it’s a starting checklist for any business owner.
If you find yourself questioning why your customers aren’t with you for the long haul, look inside your business and ask if you are treating them as you would want to be treated as a customer.
This exercise may be tough, but it’s your first step to building a loyal client base that will help lead your business to its long-term success.
This article first appeared in The Aspire Magazine, March 2013