Delivering a good customer experience is not a choice. It is not something you do only to get competitive leverage amongst your industry rivals. Not delivering a good customer experience costs you, and if you're wondering how much, here's some data on the same:
According to NewVoiceMedia, annually, American companies lose $62 billion due to poor customer service.
When I talk about customer experience, I cannot miss to talk about customer relations.
Businesses that consider creating customer relations as a priority end up creating highly-rewarding emotional connections with the customers.
The benefits? I will discuss those later in this blog.
Talking about customer relations as much as it is a sentiment, it is also a marketing methodology.
Customer relations is a style of marketing that includes:
Having a solid CRM strategy is critical, more than ever before. Without one, you won’t be able to enhance relationships with existing customers, and you might even fail to attract new ones.
Breaking it down to its core, CRM is about reducing inefficiencies and improving the conversations you have with your customers. One of the key benefits to having a CRM strategy is that everything you need for customer communications can be in one place.
This means smoother brand messaging with consistent content no matter what department your customers interact with, even if they don’t use those specific features. This leads to powerful customer bonding, where it becomes far easier for a business to identify a customer’s needs and aptly deliver. The better a CRM strategy, the more effective the outcome.
There are 7 principles of a good customer relations model. However, if you want to distill a singular meaning out of all of them, it will be this - "be customer-centric." Or in other words, create great business relationships with your customers.
Here are the principles of a good customer relations model:
Having talked much about customer or client relationships, we also need to know what exactly it is. Customer relations is often confused with other customer-facing terms, most often customer service but they are both absolutely different.
Let me explain how:
The ball is in the court of the customers, and that is how it should always be. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case in the past. But now, thanks to social media and, the Internet, and the free flow of information they bring, customers are empowered more than ever.
They can possibly find all the information that has ever been written about a business with just a single query typed in a search engine.
Customers now have the power to influence other people immensely - this has made businesses realize how easily customers will bounce off to the competitors if they lack anywhere.
Lack not only in terms of thei quality of products or services but also in terms of customer satisfaction, customer service, and customer relation efforts.
Now we all know what customer satisfaction is but customer service and customer relations are a little confusing with each other as mentioned earlier. This is because they are often used interchangeably, and their nomenclature has a semblance.
Let's understand the definitions of both:
Customer service is the help you offer your customers across the customer journey. I.e., before they buy, while they are buying, and after they buy and use your products or services. Customer service aims to solve the problems that arise across the customer journey.
Customer relations or customer relationship management is a process of choosing the best methodologies and technologies to enhance customer experience. These tools and technologies will aim at creating an experience for customers wherein no problems may arise.
Still, confused? If not, skip the next topic.
The main difference between customer service and customer relations is:
Customer service is usually one-dimensional. It is a service provided by your support teams when a customer comes to you with a problem. This is a reactive approach.
On the other hand, customer relations means creating such customer experiences with the help of tools and technologies that no problems occur in the first place. This is a proactive approach.
Having said that, you should know that customer support is a subset of customer relations and not the other way around.
The main benefits of having a good business relationship with your customers and clients are multifold. But, here I have picked the three main ones:
1. Ensures customer loyalty
When you add a great customer relationship along with great products and services, there is rarely any chance of your existing customers leaving you. A loyal customer is a goldmine.
According to a Hubspot Research, 81% of customers trust recommendations from family and friends over those from companies.
Moreover, according to Microsoft, 61% of customers stop buying from a company if they have a poor customer experience.
Customers these days are brimming with options. There is always somebody better. There is no reason for them to be patient with you. When you fail to establish good customer relations, they will likely move on to your competitor.
2. Increase Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
Customer lifetime value is the amount of revenue a customer helps you generate across the entire time they buy from you.
Good customer relations make a customer stay with you longer and motivate them to pay freely and more for your products and services.
According to Invesp, 76% of companies see Customer Lifetime Value as "an important concept for their organization."
Now that you know what customer relations are, let us know the 10 ways to build them:
1. Show Genuine Care
The base of any relationship is the ability to understand each other, and this not only holds true to households, but also in dealing with customers.
Go above and beyond when it comes to showing care towards your customers, because that will help you hit the right chords in the heart. And once your customers feel they are cared for, it would be highly unlikely that they will move to your competitors even if they provide better products or services.
For instance, Chewy, Inc., a pet supply store, is known for the care it shows to every customer. They have gone as far as to send flowers and a heartfelt note to customers whose pet have died. Chewy was acquired for $3.5 billion by PetSmart in 2017 before going public in June 2019 and has now a value of over $10 billion.
The things to learn here is:
Chewy does not sell anything that cannot be found elsewhere. Yet, the company boasts a loyal and growing customer base.
And if you think this is too much effort, you are mistaken. This is minimal effort that reaps massive benefits (I just mentioned how much Chewy is valued at).
2. Easy Self-service Opportunities
Do you know the major reason why people have adopted smartphone apps a lot? It is because apps allow them to do away with back-and-forth human interactions with sales and support staff, standing in long queues, and not being able to trust what the person on the customer care desk is saying.
In simple words - apps allow end-users to take matters into their own hands. This makes their online digital customer experience very easy and convenient.
When it comes to building business relationships with customers, you also need to give power in their hands and allow them to self-serve. You can do this by deploying resources like:
According to IBM, chatbots can solve 80% of all the frequently asked questions. Chatbots are functional on your app or website 24/7.
They can therefore offer customers and visitors any information regarding products and services, business timings, return, exchanges, discounts, bill receipts, and more. Moreover, this will also reduce the burden on your customer support team.
You can also start to let customers self serve by providing adequate information on your app or website itself.
3. Multi-channel Communication approach
According to Facebook Messenger, 20 billion messages between customers and businesses are exchanged every month.
More and more customers are shopping for things on the go on their smartphones. Any business that has or wants to have a digital footprint and is looking to build customer relationships needs to adapt to a multi-channel communication approach.
To keep it bluntly, doing otherwise would confirm to be a one-way ticket to go obsolete. (Netflix vs. Blockbuster is a prime example.)
Here is how multi-channel communication approach helps better customer relations:
Go where the customers are. Isn't this the most fundamental thing any business would ever want? It is important to know where the major chunk of your potential customers are and allocate your time and money there.
For instance, if you are an apparel company and your target audience is millennials and Gen Z then it is obvious that the majority of your potential customers would be on Instagram, and then on Twitter, and almost none on Facebook.
Having a multi-channel communication approach not only allows you to reach out to your potential customers and customers multiple times without them getting annoyed, but you can also do this proactively and creatively. Here's how you can get multiple opportunities to build customer relations:
Through email: You can send newsletters daily on new product updates, services, notes from the founders, or anything that you can probably write of value and that would interest your customers.
Through chatbots: You can communicate with them 24/7, solve their queries on the go, and give returning customers personalized communication and discounts as well.
Through live chat: Mitigate the cons of online shopping or digital interactions. It is often assumed (and not wrongly so) that digital interactions lack the human touch that offline business and in-store experiences have. Live chat is one such technology that mitigates this. With one click, your customers can connect to your live agents at any time from anywhere.
Through Social media platforms: Here you can engage with your prospects and customers, listen to their sentiment through comments, likes, tweets, etc. Give them personalized offers, provide them with customer service through text messaging, and also market and advertise your products.
4. Eagerly seek feedback, then do something about it
You would have heard of Slack, the corporate messaging app. It started off in 2009 and is now a Billion-dollar company. It is also the most used and loved in-team messaging platform.
Do you know why?
Because one of the key metrics that they prioritized more than sales was their NPS which is the net promoter score. The higher your net promoter score, the higher all your customers are to promote and recommend your products and services to their friends and family.
So for any business that wants to build relationships with their customers, they must focus on some of the following standard customer satisfaction scores:
This is one of the tangible ways you can improve on building customer relations.
5. Customer appreciation equals great customer relations
100% of customers like being appreciated with a reward, and you do not need a statistic to prove that. This is basic human behavior, isn't it?
Even though we know that appreciating someone and rewarding them is a great practice in our day-to-day life, it doesn't come to us naturally while doing business with customers.
You might say that you do say thank you every time they make a purchase!
But, that is not what I am talking about. The point is to go beyond that one thank you.
Here's how you can create great customer relations by appreciating them with rewards. You can also use this model to benefit people who have made a paid subscription to your business.
Make them feel special. This is highly effective in building relationships with customers.
This can be done in more than one ways:
There is also customer loyalty to add to this list, but to explain it in detail, I am going to take it in the next section.
6. Reward to Loyal Customers
The term customer loyalty goes hand-in-hand with customer retention. Customer retention is one of the main goals of having good customer relations.
Using rewards as bait is a classic approach to motivate a customer to keep interacting with your business. A common example of a loyalty program is to give reward points after every purchase made by a customer. These points can value anything like 1 point = 0.50 cents. These can be redeemed in the future for discounts and offers.
The nature of loyalty programs happens to use psychological techniques to keep customers in an incessant buying loop.
Therefore rewarding customers will bring you huge savings and better returns.
Do you know that according to Invesp, customer acquisition is 5X as expensive as retaining an existing customer?
Also, in a research by Frederick Reichheld of the Bain and Company (the inventor of the net promoter score), one increases profit by 25-95% by increasing customer retention rates by 5%.
7. Quick Response/Act immediately
One of the fundamental needs of customers, especially while interacting with businesses online, is to get answered quickly.
Quick response from their customer service team is imperative to establish deep customer relations.
69% of consumers prefer chatbots because of their ability to provide quick replies to simple questions. (Chatbots Magazine, 2018)
HubSpot Research found that 90% of customers rate an "immediate" response as important or very important when they have a customer service question. And for reference, 60% of customers define "immediate" as 10 minutes or less.
Deploy tools like chatbots, live chat, instant messaging, and others to offer immediate response to your prospects and customers.
8. Share Knowledge
We all know that knowledge is power. But what I think is knowledge is ease and convenience. It is a primary factor in creating great customer relationships. Knowledge brings ease and convenience for your customers and visitors, eventually bringing you better conversions and huge sales.
The goal is to be very transparent with your prospects and customers across their customer journey.
For instance, your sales and support team should actively tell your prospects and customers the intricacies of the product, services, management, company rules, etc. Explain why things are the way they are. And, what all are the probable solutions to their questions. This will help create deeper customer relationships, establish trust, and a better association between the customer and the business.
You can also have an in-depth knowledge-based library of written resources. These resources could be:
This also helps in delivering the information and earning their trust. Therefore, sharing knowledge is an easy and effective way to build great customer relations.
9. Bring hyper-personalization in customer relationships
Another great way to build great customer relations is to bring hyper-personalization.
Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to business and creating business relationships, you need to go personal!
So, what do I mean by going personal?
It means creating personalized customer experiences for every customer of yours.
Using AI, ML, NLP data like Geographical location, age, gender, socio-economic status, needs, interests, hobbies, type of devices used, past behavior with business, etc., can be leveraged to create personalized experiences.
According to Accenture, 91% of customers are more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant offers and recommendations.
When you offer a visitor or a customer a personalized experience, it makes them feel special, heard, and understood. All these emotions are directly responsible for making them stay with your business for a lifetime.
10. Deliver what you promise
Yes, I know this should be the first point of this list, but I want this point to the most important takeaway. Therefore, I saved it for last.
Like Gary Vee says, no amount of marketing can save a bad product. You cannot establish good customer relations with your customers if all you do is talk and not deliver.
No matter how good your customer support or service is, you have to ensure that your products and services are cutting-edge, efficient, convenient, and deliver what you have promised they do.
Having a good product or service is a prerequisite to everything. You can still establish good customer relations without any customer sales, support or success teams if you have a great product that delivers what it says, but the opposite of this is not true.
According to finance online, by 2025, the CRM market will have already increased to $82 billion, growing at 12% per year.
Also, customer relations management tools and techniques remain to be the most popular sales tools for businesses, along with social prospecting, data and list services, email engagement, phone, and sales cadence for businesses worldwide.
I hope that you have found these 10 ways to establish great customer relations with your clients and customers are of actionable value. In order to understand the importance of maintaining building relationships with customers, I have also emphasized its importance and the benefits it will bring to your business from all aspects.
In conclusion, a happy customer brings abundant growth to your business.
To read more insights on how to grow your business by making your customers happy, keep an eye on this space. We post content regularly.
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