Customers are the most essential part of any business. Without customers a business can’t fulfill its primary function of selling products or services to people or other businesses that need it. If a business does not have a consistent stream of customers, then it will be hard-pressed to make any revenue. And without revenue, a business cannot sustain its operations.
In order to prioritize customers, and work to improve relationships with them, businesses need to directly communicate with customers and address their needs. They also need to act in a trustworthy and transparent manner, and act with humility and grace when dealing with their customers. With that in mind, here are three ways that businesses can improve their relationships with their customers so that they can continue to operate at a profit for years to come.
While most businesses run their operations with some degree of secrecy, this does not mean that you shouldn’t be transparent and forthright with customers. Being honest about your shortcomings in the case of conflict, such as a shipping delay or a product order mismatch, can help to diffuse a situation and help to alleviate a customer’s concerns. This is especially the case if you promise to make it right by offering compensation in terms of a discount or other incentive.
In being transparent, you might also consider preemptively telling customers that there might be a delay in their order or other issue ahead of time. This can help to head off any expectations and allow you to at least ethically convey information that may be beyond your control as a business owner but will nevertheless affect a customer’s order.
Communicate with grace
Speaking of expectations, it is important that you communicate well and often with your clients. What this means is that you want to take the time to let them know that they matter to you, and that you value their opinions and needs. More importantly, you should show that you understand why they choose to transact with your business in the first place, and give them the understanding that you appreciate their continued business.
The best way to do this is through the use of a CRM. But what is a CRM? A CRM is a software that allows you to collect customer data in a central database. You can then track your interactions with individual customers once their information is uploaded to the CRM, and you can also analyze customer data in a mass way. Doing this, you can, for example, email a customer on their birthday and offer a discount or heartfelt thanks for their business. Showing your appreciation and grace can go a long way in helping a customer feel valued and giving them the incentive to continue to transact with your business.
Improving your relationships with your customers does not have to be difficult. However, it does require you to actually sit down and communicate with your customers, and be transparent and honest when you hit any roadblocks. However, with a little bit of practice, and an excellent customer support staff, you’ll be able to go a long way toward making your customer come back again and again.