Have you ever wondered who you were talking to on the other side of the computer screen?
Outstanding customer service representatives make you feel like they, and the companies that employ them, value you. As a result, customers are eager to get to know the faces behind the logo.
As soon as a customer starts a conversation with a leader, employee, or representative of the company, their perspective changes. It goes from a faceless entity to real people that care about the individual needs of each customer.
According to some studies, meeting those needs is all it takes to build long-term customer relationships—but going the extra mile to satisfy needs can, to borrow from Ruby Receptionist’s goals, WOW customers and build the kind of relationship that fosters long-term loyalty.
Why Building Long-Term Customer Relationships Matters
- Customer loyalty saves you time, money, and effort in the long run. Customer acquisitions comes with a hefty price tag—especially if your company experiences a higher-than-average customer churn rate. Building relationships with customers means they’ll stick around for the long haul, and you can save the money you would have spent to replace their business. If your customer base sticks around, you can focus on growth.
- Long-term customers are also powerful brand advocates. Word of mouth marketing is an extremely effective way to generate new customers, especially when your loyal customers are the ones bringing them in.
- Additionally, long-term customers provide a solid base for business growth. These are the individuals who will be the first to step up to use and even review your new products, give you honest feedback, and provide you with a consistent income.
Customer loyalty doesn’t have to be formed with big, over-the-top, gestures. While all customers appreciate a small touch that shows you value them, the first step to building long-lasting customers comes from your core business model: meeting their needs.
Step 1: Meet Customer Needs
One Harvard Business Review report found that most customer loyalty can be summed up in three words: make it easy. The study, which came out before the rise of tech-enabled personalization, raises an interesting point about the basics of the customer-company relationship.
In this case, make it easy means doing a few basic things to get the relationship started.
- Take away any barriers between you and your customers. Make it easy for customers to reach out to your company by having clear phone numbers (to a phone that gets answered), email addresses, and contact forms.
- Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Look at what customers are truly trying to express. Are they satisfied or dissatisfied with your product? Are they angry? Enthusiastic? Anger is a secondary emotion, so what’s the root cause? Understanding your customers makes it much easier to build real relationships with them. It’s true what they say, empathy goes a long way.
- Anticipate needs. Think of all the resources a customer may ask for, and make them available. Whether this takes the form of a mini-tutorial on a product or offering genuine suggestions for the next step, a company that thinks about its customers helps keep them engaged and active.
In some cases, a simple shift in language can be all it takes to improve customer relationships. Shifting away from negativity, and towards positive language, can help build the foundational trust that leads to long-term, long-lasting relationships.
Step 2: Going the Extra Mile
Like Rome, relationships aren’t built in a day, and long-term relationships mean more than just satisfying customer needs; they mean exceeding them. Loyalty is built on a perceived personal relationship with the brand. And you can’t build a great relationship without providing a great product, excellent service, and open communications. Every interaction provides you with another opportunity to blow them away.
It’s no surprise that technology improvements have created an environment where customers expect real-time communication. Customers want to talk to a real person, not a robot. And they can reach out to you through social media, timely emails, and via phone calls. In the age of technology, customer loyalty is won on all fronts.
Your next phone call with a customer is your opportunity to go the extra mile! When the opportunity arises, try taking notes about a customer’s needs, putting your active listening skills to use, and providing a solution—or clear next steps when possible. Sometimes this means listening to complaints and providing the right services. And in other cases, it means sending a thoughtful gift, handwritten note, or even offering a follow-up call.
The more personal and direct you can be, the better.
Gabe Arnold is the founder of Copywriter Today where you can get unlimited fresh content for all your marketing needs. If you want 250 free headline ideas for your next marketing campaign, use their free tool here.