Building healthy relationships with your customers is hard work and it may often seem like the work doesn’t yield a significant return. However, it’s important to recognize that happy customers often represent your best sales channel to new prospects through referrals and references.
As a marketer, you’ll be doing more work trying to acquire new customers than you will simply keeping the ones you already have happy. Take a look at the following three things you can do right now to make your customers happy:
1. Become a Knowledge Source: One of the most powerful things you can do to keep your customers happy is to give them more information on their industry or market. Send them an email highlighting an important industry trend. Tweet them a link to an editorial that concerns their market.
Your customers love being experts in their field and sharing their knowledge with others. Give them what they want (but are too busy to give themselves); before you know it, they’ll want to do more business with you.
2. Ask for Feedback: It’s a crazy concept, right? You ask your customer how you’re doing, and she gives you an answer. It seems simple to execute, but vendors rarely ask their customers for direct performance feedback. Find out how your customers are using your product or service. Find out what they like and dislike. Invite customers to join user groups or speak at conferences, and ask them to freely and openly talk about your product.
The insight gained from interactions like these is invaluable in formulating marketing and general business strategies. More importantly, asking for feedback makes your customers feel important and valued.
3. Set the Right Expectations and Execute: It’s always about execution, but to keep customers happy, you must also set the right expectations. Nothing frustrates customers more than realizing you didn’t live up to the promise you communicated before starting a project. Make sure you set realistic and attainable goals, and then constantly communicate with your customers to know whether you’re meeting expectations or need to get back on track before it’s too late.
Making the Honeymoon Last
Implementing these strategies will help ensure you’re on the right path to keeping your customers around for a long time. That said, it’s also important to understand the barriers that exist between you and your customers, which sometimes unintentionally hinder your ability to develop healthy, profitable relationships.
You shouldn’t take your customers for granted. Avoid becoming complacent by rewarding customer service staff who do an exceptional job responding to customer needs. You might also incentivize the product development team for delivering a new, innovative product your customers desperately need.
Furthermore, avoid being reactive so your relationships with customers can flourish openly and honestly. Don’t wait until a customer calls you with a problem. It’s your job to anticipate issues and contact your customer to address them head-on. If you develop a proactive customer ethos, you’ll quickly build credibility and transfer trust between your company and your customers.
Finally, implement processes that allow every department in your company to interact with customers. Everyone needs to understand your customers to some degree, and there’s no better way to learn than to interact with them personally.
No one said it would be easy. Building healthy relationships with your customers is hard work, but it’s worth it. Commit to open, proactive communication with your customers to keep them happy, and you’ll likely be holding hands with them well into the future.
Adam DeGraide is the CEO and founder of Astonish. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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