Building a Relationship With Your Customers
The most important resource your business has is its customers. Investors come and go, and even your employees are, ultimately, replaceable (though this is something you might wish to avoid!), but if you build a good relationship with your customers your business will have an engine that will keep it going in the long term. A steady stream of loyal customers don’t just provide consistent revenue, they also recommend you to other people, building and broadening your customer base. The best possible marketing is the hardest to create: a happy customer. You can place adverts on Facebook yourself in a few minutes, but making sure your customers are happy, consistently means everyone in your business working consistently to the same plan, with customers at the very centre of it.
Today we’re taking a look at how you can build a relationship with your customers that keeps them happy – it’s not just a matter of getting them to click buy. You need a plan that centres the customer whether they choose to shop with you that time or not, from the moment they hear about your brand to weeks after their order has been delivered.
The place to begin your journey is with research. Consumer intelligence is more useful that simply telling you where people spend their money. The right market research can tell you just what your desired customers value in a business, to allow you to tune your approach to them. Younger customers in your niche may prefer a more personal tone, which might mean developing the sort of quirky, individual voice for your branding that Innocent, for example, has deployed so effectively.
Older customers may value a drier tone, focussing on facts and figures, or they may be engaged by a more descriptive, longer winded style of marketing. The key here is that unless you get hard facts, any decisions you take will be little more than guesswork, so beginning with research gives you a foundation you can trust.
Implementation and Communication
You have to make sure you are both implementing customer friendly processes and communicating them to customers in a way they can understand, digest and value. Having a generous returns and refund policy isn’t going to earn you goodwill with customers unless if it’s not easily available on your website, free from complicated legalese and something they can work with with the minimum of friction.
Your guiding principle needs to be the customer’s own point of view: try to place yourself in the shoes of someone who’s never shopped with you before, perhaps who’s using the internet for the first time. Can they find what they need? Test it out with family and friends who don’t know your processes and jargon: are you communicating what you mean to, or, despite your best intentions, are you obscuring the message?
Clear communication of processes that centre the customer is the way to build a good customer relationship, and to do that, you need to listen. Whether it’s through market research, through feedback forms, or through public trials, listening is the most important thing.