Today's businesses need to spend time effectively engaging with their clients. As a business owner you must stay aware of what your competitors are doing and beware of shifting trends that may effect your service offering. Give your customers a reason to shop with you again. Nurturing relationships with your customers is a crucial part of growing a successful business. I recently read an article by Diane Gottsman, Mind Your Executive Etiquette. Nine steps to better customer relationships.
1. Stay in touch.
After the sale, devote resources to continuing to build the relationship instead of merely setting your sights on the next transaction. Opportunities can include being active on social media, sending clients a special incentive, and regular communication such as email newsletters. However, there is a fine line between keeping in touch and becoming a nuisance. Your communication should be meaningful and have a purpose.
2. Assume that your clients won't remember you.
A customer may have hired you once, but that doesn't guarantee they will think of you the next time they need the services you offer. You are competing for their attention amidst a million other distractions every day (this is true with both retail and business-to-business companies). If you provide services to other companies and you haven't heard from them in a while, reach out and let your contact know you would appreciate their future business.
3. Keep the experience fresh and relevant.
Give your customers a reason to shop with you again. Continue to hone and improve your offerings - and remember to articulate to existing customers what's new. Changes and updates are more reasons to interact with your client base.
4. Surprise Your Clients.
When someone does something above and beyond our expectations, we leave feeling delighted and excited, and will likely tell others. This can be as simple as remembering a customer's name or as special as offering a gift on their birthday or another milestone. Reward them for their business by giving them loyalty discounts or extras when they use your services repeatedly.
Do good things together in the community. Whether it's donating a portion of every sale to a non-profit or hosting a collection for the local food bank, choose an activity that lets customers help with a good deed, so they feel good about doing business with you.
6. Have the right people on the front-line.
You can have the best product in the world, but if the person your customer interacts with is not engaging or even worse, downright unpleasant to deal with, you will drive people away. Make sure you have qualified people on your team. Friendly, efficient and personalized service should be a standard.
7. Make it easy for customers to reach you.
Don't send them through a lengthy chain of menu options before they can get a person on the line. Make a point of responding to social media comments, emails and voice mail messages promptly.
This requires two steps: paying attention when they share feedback and also proactively asking them what they think of your business. Send surveys to customers regarding their opinion about your product and the service they received, and then take the information to heart.
9. Show your appreciation.
Express your gratitude with something as simple as a heartfelt thank you when doing business in person (not just a "you're welcome" if they thank you first).Take it a step further by sending a thank you note or a special reward for a referral. Building strong relationships takes time, but the payoff is worth the energy.
Diane Gottsman, Lifestyle & Etiquette Expert, Media Resource, TV Personality. @Inc @HuffPost Contributor. Featured @Hallmarkchannel @CBSSunday #manners. dianegottsman.com