‘Who is your customer?’ may seem like a strange question to a business owner. But, do you really know who your customers are? If you have been in business for any length of time you may easily conclude that your customer is the person who buys from you, and you would not be wrong, but it would be an incomplete answer.
In today’s social world, it has become more important to avoid generalizations and get to know your customers on an individual basis so that you can meet their expectations and satisfy their needs. Granted, this can be done much more effectively by small businesses, yet large organizations can put customer relationship management (CRM) systems in place that help them identify their customers.
Your message or brand has to be directed to a specific person or group of persons so that it’s targeted and appeal to the persons to whom it’s intended. Can you write a summary of a typical customer, what they like, where they live, their income and age? If not then this is your first step.
You should also find out what other places they like to visit when online. Do they visit certain forums or are they all members of a certain group? When you discover where they hang out, get into the habit of visiting the same places. This will provide you with even more valuable insights into who your customer truly is.
Work on Developing Customer Relationships
I believe it would be fair to assume that you thank your customer for making a purchase, but do you go any further than that? Do you follow up with your customers or offer them any advice or information on using your products?
Let’s look at two examples, a Skin Care Consultant gives her customer a facial and sells her some highly-reputable skin care products to use at home. The customer loves the way her skin feels as she leaves the salon and is happy to continue using the products at home. The Consultant makes a note to call her in three days. When she does the customer tells her how happy she is that she followed up with her because she has been getting minor skin irritations when she uses the product. The Consultant tells her to stop using the products immediately and contacts the medical department of the company that manufacturers the product.
She is given questions to ask her customer, and when she does, she finds that she has a known allergy to an ingredient in one of the products. She’s able to switch her to something else. Her customer is delighted and thinks of her as the best Consultant who really cares about her customers. She tells all her friends about her, her salon, her products, and helps to grow her business. She took the time to build a relationship leading to a loyal customer.
Another Skin Care Consultant provides a similar service to her customer and off she goes. She makes a note to call her new customer in three months, which is the average time most people will finish those products. Let’s say her customer had similar results.
Three months later she calls and is greeted with a hostile response and scathing comments from her former customer of how bad the products were, and the damage they did to her skin. The Consultant is surprised and offers to replace the products. Her former customer tells her she’d not interested in using any of those products, and had thrown away the items she purchased a long time ago. She politely, but firmly, hangs up the phone.
What the Consultant does not know is that her former customer has complained to everyone who would listen about her and her products.
Following-up, as the first consultant did, would have averted this situation. Even if she did not become a loyal customer, she would have reason to believe that the consultant cared about her personally. By contacting her three months after the same, the customer was convinced that she was not interested in her, but in her money.t
Unfortunately too many business owners overlook the follow-up step. Instead of trying to build customer loyalty, they are always looking for new customers. If you want your business to grow and thrive, then it is crucial that you work on developing a relationship with your customers, and it starts with the follow-up.
It is much easier to get a current customer to buy another product or service, than constantly keep looking for new ones. According to research done by Marketing Metrics, there’s a 5-20% possibility of selling to a new prospect. On the other hand, the probability of selling to an existing customer increases 60-70%.
If you don’t have many repeat customers then take a look at your business model. Did you take the time to build a database or mailing list? Do you ever offer your customer’s related products and tools that complement their original purchase? If not you really are leaving money on the table.
You can improve this area of your business by offering great customer service and by following up with your buyers.
A satisfied customer is only too happy to keep buying from you. They know they can trust your opinions and judgement and they know you are looking after their interests. If you can continually deepen this relationship you will have customers for life.
Relationship marketing is all about developing a good line of communication with your customers. One of which is knowing everything you can about your product. In addition this helps build trust and respect with your customers. If they can see that you know what you are talking about, it will be easier for them to buy from you.
Customers are interested in doing business with people they know, like, and trust and a one-sided relationship will no longer be tolerated. They want to know that the person with whom they’re spending their money cares about them personally. When you develop relationships with your customers you’re more likely to have loyal customers who want to do business with you.
Do you have questions about developing relationships with your customers. I offer a complimentary Double Your Clients Breakthrough Session. You’re invited to click on the phone on my Home Page, fill in the form and let’s schedule your free session today.