Customer attraction is rarely an issue because companies, large and small, are well-equipped with sales and marketing strategies that attract new clients and customers. This is evidenced by the volume of offers most residents receive in their mail boxes. And some of these offers can be quite enticing. From banks offering appliances or Gift Cards to communication providers offering up to $250 Gift Cards, it can become challenging for individuals and businesses to remain loyal to their current provider or bank.
Failure to build strong relationships with customers is a mistake! Michael Denisoff, Business Consultant; some time ago noted that all successful small businesses–regardless of what they do or sell–have one thing in common:
their owners know how to build and maintain relationships. He continued, “Without strong relationships, it is impossible to have success as a business owner.”
Like any other relationship, building strong relationships with your clients and customers, as well as vendors and suppliers, all of whom have a stake in your business, take time and work. However, once all of these stakeholders recognize that you’re serious about cultivating the relationship and are willing to enhance the value you bring to them, you’ll find that you’ve built a community that will be loyal to you.
Think about it: If you had a friend and the only time you contacted him or her was when you were in distress and needed their help, how long do you believe that friendship would hold up? Eventually your friend would begin to see you as a ‘user’ who only contacts her when you need something.
The same is true for your business. In building customer relationships here are some important questions to ask yourself:
- Have I set up a database of my customers with as much information as possible?
- Do I have a system in place so that I contact my customers on a regular basis?
- Is my system flexible so that I can add notes from conversations I, or any member of my team, have with customers for effective follow-up where necessary?
- Do I ask for feedback from my customers so that they feel that they have an active part in the growth and success of my company?
- Do I carefully listen to the feedback objectively and seek to implement where necessary?
It’s important to remember that as business owners, we’re often so close to our business regardless of the size and scope, that others can often see what we cannot. In addition, your customers need to be made to feel they are important to your business. The reality is that they are. So by seeking their feedback, listening, and implementing where necessary, you’ll be building and cementing the relationship with your customers.
What steps have you taken to build or continue building customer relationships with your customers and suppliers?