Customer relationships are the driving force behind any business. They purchase your goods, enjoy your services and help spread the word about your business to the world. Hence, it is vital that your relationship with your customers reflects loyalty, trust and integrity. In this article, we break down some important steps in establishing these relationships and how to maintain them.
Steps for Creating Positive Customer Relationships
Find Your Target Customers
The first step to developing strong relationships with your customers is to find out who your ideal customers are. This involves some market research on your behalf. There are different ways to collect this information such as surveys, polls, interviews and questionnaires. What’s great about this day and age is that we can distribute these surveys through social media. This allows for a wide array of people to respond and share it with friends and family. This not only helps with market research, but it can also help with spreading the word about your business.
Policies and Procedures
A great way to create positive relationships with your customers from the get-go is to structure the foundations of your business on these relationships. Policies and procedures lay out how your business will run and how issues are resolved. If you ensure that your business engrains a positive attitude towards customer relationships, you have set the standard for your employees. A great idea is to provide your employees with an employment agreement which states the right and duties of both the employer and employee. In this document, you can include things such as promptly replying to customer emails or phone calls. Overall, allowing staff to understand expectations when communicating with customers and examples of positive customer relationships.
As important as it is to ensure your customers are happy, your staff are important too. The only way that positive relationships will develop between your business and customers is if your staff are also happy. Following from the last point, policies and procedures are vital within any business. Yet, grievance policies are often overlooked and are not considered as important as other documents. However, your staff should feel comfortable to report any workplace related issues. If there was an issue that arose between a staff member and a customer, it is important to address it with cohesiveness and confidence. Hence, your staff will understand that unfair treatment is not be tolerated and can be reported. In turn, allowing your employees to freely interact with customers with the understanding that they are protected behind the scenes.
Communication is Key
Speaking to customers about your products or services is great. However, it is not the only way to create a positive experience. Allowing customers to communicate back and forth with you opens the doors for constructive criticism. Keeping tabs of all types of feedback, whether positive or negative is a great tool to build positive customer relationships. Customers should be able to feel that they can be honest with you about your business. This allows you to reflect on your business and the way you may deal with customer concerns. Further, it keeps you accountable for the actions of your staff and the standards of your business.
Go Above and Beyond
When you enter any store, you expect to feel welcomed and comfortable while shopping around. This is a major factor which invites customers to return to your store. If there is an issue with any goods or services you provide, it is easy to become defensive as you believe in your products. However, customers are entitled to particular rights under Australian Consumer Law. Therefore, it is extremely important that any customer concerns, especially about faulty products is dealt with in a professional manner.
Further, it is not enough to simply solve the problem for your customer, always offer them something extra. This might be a discount on their next purchase, a free gift or some form of compensation for the issue occurring. This reflects to customers that you care about their experience with your goods and services. Hence, later down the track, a customer will want to return to your business as they know that they will be looked after even after they purchase a product from you.
Another way to go above and beyond is to offer exceptional service. If your service involves traveling to your customers homes, arrive on time and ensure you have the right address. If customers are physically coming into you store to purchase a product, offer them a bottle of water or a catalogue. Finally, for an online store, offer a percentage off their first purchase. These simple actions make customers feel good and welcome to your business.
Fostering positive customer relationships is vital for the longevity of your business. Understanding the needs of your customers, while entrenching the importance of these relationships to your staff is important.
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