Want more customers?
Before you go out on a rampage finding new customers, it is important to nurture and care for the customers that you already have. Why is this important?
By nurturing your existing customers and strengthening those relationships, you can naturally create more revenue, more referrals and higher profits.
In fact, by building upon the customers you already have it can naturally and organically help you to bring in more customers.
Existing customers are likely to spend more and promote your services and products to their family and friends, making them invaluable to your business.
While finding new customers is always good, and tempting at times if you are looking to rapidly grow your brand, there is no point finding new customers if you haven’t established a rapport with your existing ones.
Many businesses make the mistake of churning through customer after customer and wonder why they can’t get their revenue and profits to stick.
If you want a lasting business, if you want consistent business, if you truly want to grow your business, you need to turn your attention to your customers.
When you nurture your existing customers and take the time to build genuine, thoughtful and meaningful relationships with them, your business can truly soar and grow even faster.
While it may take some time and effort, nurturing your customers will help your business to-
- Earn a loyal following
- Grow by word of mouth
- Increase your revenues
- Maximise your profits
- Enhance your reputation
- Build your network
- Increase engagement
- Develop trust
By taking the time to connect with your existing customers and genuinely care about their experience and interaction with your brand, it can speak volumes for your business and put you on the fast track to success.
Here is how to get started with strengthening your customer relationships-
Strategy #1: Be Genuine Through Your Tone
There is nothing worse than receiving a generic or phoney sounding email from a company that pretends to care about your experience and your questions.
While writing personalised responses or even picking up the phone and taking the time to chat with your clients is ideal, it may not always be possible depending on the size of your business.
If you can’t personalise every point of contact with your customers, try instead to craft emails that reflect your brand’s overall tone.
Think about your tone and the tone of your brand as a whole, and then work to craft a message or email that reflects this tone and makes your customers feel welcomed, supported and valued.
Personalising your emails and copy as much as possible is also recommended. This includes using the name of your customer and tailoring the email to include more specifics about what they ordered or what services or products you provided.
While this may seem small, it can make a huge difference in how your customers relate to your brand and their overall experience of working with you.
When you take the time to think about your tone and craft an email that reflects that, customers will also feel more trusting towards your brand.
Strategy #2: The Power of Authenticity
In order to truly be authentic, you need to craft a tone and then stick with it. Your tone should be reflected in all areas of your business from how you write your website copy to your blogs and emails.
Your tone is most likely going to be aligned with your true nature and also the mission statement of your brand, so if you are struggling to find your tone, these are both great places to begin.
Research shows us that 63 percent of people buy from authentic brands, compared to brands that are inauthentic and hide their true selves.
By being open and honest with your customers and transparent about your practices, it can also go a long way to build authenticity.
Strategy #3: Critical Connection Moments
Don’t just connect with your customers randomly, connect with them at the most pivotal moments during the buying process.
This will not only help you to maximise your time more efficiently, but it will also help you to connect with your customers when it matters the most, which will instantly strengthen the relationship and help to build life-long trust.
There are 3 main critical connection points that you need to observe-
Critical Connection Point #1: Right after purchasing
Right after a customer purchases a product or service from your website, they should be sent a thank you email and further instructions on how their order will be processed or any next steps.
This email ideally should be sent immediately after the purchase has gone through, and for extra brownie points, a thank you call should be made within 24 hours.
At the moment you gain a new customer, you should instantly be thinking about ways to nurture and support that customer so they feel good about their purchase and excited about working with your brand.
Critical Connection Point #2: When Making a Query
If a potential customer has a query about any of your products or services, it is important to respond in a timely manner with a personalised and detail response to their question.
You may even want to consider having an auto-responder that emails them instantly to let them know that their query was received and will be replied to shortly.
When answering customer queries, keep true to the tone of your brand and point them in the right direction so they feel that their question was answered.
If you have issues with customers asking too many questions or if you find that the same question is being asked repeatedly by different people, it may be an indication that you need to update your product or services page to include more information, or create a “FAQ” section.
Critical Connection Point #3: Customer Complaints
This is the number one time when your communication skills really need to shine. If you have done all your work in the beginning, your customers should feel comfortable reaching out to you in a friendly and calm manner.
When dealing with conflicts or complaints, the most important rule is understanding. By showing that you understand their point of view it can often help to diffuse the situation.
Providing a solution is also important, however if a solution is not always possible other alternatives that you may want to consider include- offering a refund, offering a coupon or discount for subsequent purchases or providing a replacement product.
It has been estimated that poor customer service costs businesses in the US an estimated $83 billion a year and this number is increasing thanks to the power of social media.
Disgruntled customers are often disgruntled over a period of time, so by nurturing and building the relationship from the beginning, you are more likely to have happy customers who will speak positively about your brand.
It may also be worth remembering that you can’t please everyone all the time. There are going to be upset or angry customers that just want to be angry and upset no matter what solution you provide. If you are ever faced with this situation, just remember to stay calm and try your best to diffuse the situation.
Strategy #4: Ask for Customer Feedback
One of the best ways to understand your customers is to ask for feedback after they have worked or ordered from your business. By asking for feedback it helps to create an open relationship between you and your customers.
Often customers who were unhappy or indifferent about working with your brand will fail to speak up or let you know. By asking for feedback however, it gives these customers and voice and helps you to improve your business.
It has also been shown that customers who are asked for feedback are more likely to do repeat business with your brand and are more likely to remain loyal to your brand over time.
This is especially true if you respond to their feedback or make changes based on their suggestions.
Of course, no matter the quality of feedback you receive, it is always important to thank your customers for any suggestions or notes that they do leave.
You may also want to provide an incentive or a free gift as a thank you to your customers for taking the time to leave their feedback. Brands who adopt this protocol often receive more feedback and more customer suggestions, which can be invaluable to helping grow your brand.
Strategy #5: Update Your Customers Regularly
Reaching out to your customers during critical moments in the buying process is important, however it is also important to regularly connect with your customers on an ongoing basis.
This not only helps to build a solid relationship with your customers but it also allows you to stay fresh and in the forefront of their mind.
By staying present in your customers mind, they are more likely to think of you when they need a service or product that your business provides.
To help connect with your customers and update them on any new products or services that your business may be offering, the best solution is to send a weekly newsletter or email.
Having updates on social media or YouTube is also a great idea, but emails tend to feel more personalised.
Another way to keep your customers engaged with your brand is through your company blog.
By offering valuable information and updates, it helps your customers to feel like they are part of your business and not just simply another number.
Strategy #6: Build a Community
Establishing a loyal following of customers is really about creating a community and making your customers feel like they are part of something bigger.
Brands that go viral often do because they tap into this element and create a marketing and advertising campaign that helps to foster a sense of community.
One brand that has used this strategy particularly well is Apple. When they re-launched under the direction of Steve Jobs, they instantly positioned their product as being “anti-PC”. By doing so, they were able to create a community of people who were looking for something different to the typical PC.
Today, Apple fans are some of the most loyal in the world and this is mainly because the company was able to build a feeling of community around their advertising and marketing campaigns.
While Apple may have had a huge budget to throw around to create this effect, there are some affordable ways that you can create a sense of community.
This includes –
- Establishing your brand’s mission
- Being very clear on who your target audience is
- Having a clear marketing message and tone
- Hosting webinars or live chats with customers
- Sharing personal and professional content on social media
- Replying to social media comments and tagging followers
- Aligning your brand with an established influencer or philosophy
By creating a community, it further helps to support this idea of making your customer feel part of something bigger and not just a number.
Depending on the type of business that you run, you can also consider offering mastermind groups, weekly or monthly group phone calls or even retreats to help establish and foster a sense of community.
For local brick and mortar businesses, getting out there and being part of your local community is also a great way to help your customers connect to your brand. Strategies with this could include, setting up a stall at a local farmers market, volunteering for local events and promoting local community events.
Strategy #7: Get Face to Face With Your Customers
So many things are automated and done online these days, that it can be easy to forget about showing your face to your customers.
If you really want to improve the relationships that you have with your customers, you need to be a face that they can recognise.
The most successful thought leaders and businesses, put a face to their brand so customers can see who is behind it all. They also host live or online events that both customers and visitors can take part in.
By hosting events such as webinars, seminars, e-courses and more, it allows your customers to put a face to your brand and gives them a more personalised and tailored experience.
Many brands shy away from hosting an event because they think it will be too much work, but tools like Facebook Live and Google Hangouts make it easy.
Hosting an event like this also helps to boost your brand’s engagement levels on social media and can help keep your brand fresh in your customer’s minds.
Hosting exclusive events are also a great way to help your customers to feel important and valued.
Strategy #8: Reward Customer Loyalty
When a customer stays true and loyal to your brand, it is important to acknowledge and thank them for this. It is also important to offer them some sort of incentive or reward for staying loyal.
When you reward repeat customers in this way, they are more likely to feel valued and therefore, more likely to return to your business in the future.
Rewarding customer loyalty also gives your customers more incentive to return to your business and use your services again and again.
There are so many ways you can reward customer loyalty, but here are just a few to get you started-
- Offering a stamp card where after 10 purchases you get something free (this works great for coffee shops or brick and mortar stores)
- Discount coupons for repeat purchases
- Discounts on monthly or yearly subscriptions
- Free gifts or thank you notes
By honouring customer loyalty, your business can also experience a huge increase in growth.
In fact, research has shown that 82 percent of small business owners believe that loyal customers are the key to growth.
For B2B brands, sending a complimentary bottle of wine, box of chocolates or gift card is also a great way to show your appreciation and is perfect for clients that give your brand a lot of business.
The bottom line is this- there are so many brands out there competing for your customers attention, but they decided to choose you. Honour this choice and celebrate it by making your customers feel good about doing business with your brand.
Strategy #9: Treat Everyone Equally and Fairly
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to crafting a successful customer care program is consistency.
You have to aim to treat all of your customers the same and handle customer issues in the same way. When it comes to running a business you can’t play favourites. This means that if you bend your refund policy for Customer A, you have to do the same for Customer B.
While this can get complicated, it is important, as much as possible, to keep your methods and approach consistent.
This not only helps to build respect in the eyes of your customers, but it also helps you to run a more efficient business. When your business has rules or policies in place, customers are also more likely to be understanding.
Being consistent with your customer care approach also comes down to regularly engaging and offering events to your customers.
There is no point offering new customers a Q&A session with you and then forgetting all about them one week later. For best results, you have to stay consistent and keep your customers as part of your community for as long as possible.
Nurturing and looking after your existing customers is so important for your brand. Not only can it help you to grow your revenues and profits, but it can also help you to foster brand loyalty.
Research shows that customers who are respected and valued by businesses not only spend more, but they are also more likely to promote your business to their friends and family.
Word of mouth marketing is extremely powerful and is one of the best ways to get new clients walking through your door.
To summarise the points made in this article, here is a checklist to help you build solid and trusted relationship with all of your clients-
- Create your tone and stick to it- this helps your brand to appear more trustworthy
- Ensure your emails, website copy and ad copy are all reflective of your tone
- Reach out to customers at critical times- after purchasing, when they have a question and when they make a complaint
- Send a thank you note, email or make a thank you phone call after any customer order
- Inform your customers of the next steps after purchasing or ordering with your company- keep them clued in
- Deal with customer complaints by showing that you understand and provide actionable solutions
- Have a refund or return policy in place that clearly outlines the rules and regulations of your business
- Be transparent will all of your terms and conditions
- Regularly connect with customers through sending emails, being active on social media, blog posts or hosting events
- Make your customers feel part of a community by offering regular events and exclusives- ie. live chats, conferences etc.
- Ask for customer feedback and act on any beneficial feedback that you receive
- Align your brand with a message or philosophy that your target audience can relate to
- Reward customer loyalty by offering discounts and incentives for repeat purchases
- Add personal touches whenever connecting with customers
- Be consistent when it comes to connecting with your customers, don’t play favourites
At the end of the day, showing your customers that you care is pretty simple. It all comes down to actually genuinely caring and as a business owner, you should.
When you genuinely care for your customers they will genuinely care for you, and stay loyal to your brand time and time again.
So, instead of dreaming about scoring hundreds of new customers, why not instead work on nurturing the customers that you already have.
By doing so, you will eventually create an army of loyal followers who are excited about your brand and more than grateful to buy all of your new products, send you referrals and leave glowing reviews.
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