Building Relationships with Customers

Do you focus on building relationships with customers?
A. No. We sell to them, then move on.
B. We are always trying to sell them more, but it’s difficult to build sustaining relationships.
C. We try to increase the lifetime value of each customer, but we have no clear process.
D. We build relationships with our customers to increase the lifetime value of each customer.
E. We pro-actively focus on increasing the depth and breadth of our relationships with our customers to increase each one’s lifetime value.
[Score:  A=0, B=1, C=2, D=3 and E=4]


Why is this question important?

There are many reasons a customer or client may leave you, but most frequently mentioned are:

  • they felt your pricing was too high or unfair
  • they had an unresolved complaint
  • they took a competitors offer
  • they left because they felt you didn’t care.

Remember that the last two make are the major reasons why a client or customer will no longer use your service or buy your products.

Think about it – many customers purchase your service or product because they have developed a relationship with you, they own another product of yours, or they were referred to you by a friend or associate.

When faced with the above facts why is it businesses spend 80%+ of their marketing budget going after new customers and clients rather than nurturing, retaining, and maintaining the customer relationships they already have?

Research has shown the following statistics:

  • Repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers.
  • Referrals among repeat customers are 107% greater than non-customers.
  • It costs up to six times more to sell something to a prospect than to sell that same thing to a customer.

Successful businesses don’t just communicate with prospects and customers for special sales. Today, making your company indispensable is a great way to build marketing success. It’s adds value, enhances your brand and standing against your competition.  Find out what customers want.  This seems so obvious and simple that it gets overlooked surprisingly often.

Consider these relationship-building strategies:

  1. Visit the trenches. It is important to go beyond standard sales calls in order to build relationships with top customers or clients.  When was the last time you spent quality time, with a customer – not your sales staff, but you, the head of your company? Is there any better way to really understand the challenges your customers face and how you can help them?
  2. Communicate frequently.  How often do you reach out to customers? Do the bulk of your communications focus on product offers and sales?  It’s possible to combine e-mail, direct mail, phone contact and face-to-face communication to keep in touch in a meaningful way with prospects and existing clients.
  3. Offer customer loyalty or reward programs.  These work well for many types of businesses. The most effective programs offer graduated rewards, so the more customers spend, the more they earn.
  4. Hold special events. The company-sponsored golf outing is still important.  In retaining and up-selling current customers, company-sponsored special events can be very effective.
  5. Make it two-way communication. When it comes to customer relations, “listening” is as important as “telling”.  Customers on knowing they are listened to instantly experience a rapport and a relationship with your company.
  6. Empower your customer service – get an outstanding reputation for resolving customer problems quickly and effectively.  Go the extra mile – delight your customers. That doesn’t necessarily mean doing more – doing it better.  Superior customer service will help you build repeat business, create positive word-of-mouth and increase sales from new customers as a result.
  7. Tell customers what’s going on.  If you don’t have an answer to a complaint, tell the customer you don’t have one yet, but you’ll get one.
  8. In order to build a better stronger relationship with a customer, you need to care. You will need to care about what they need, what they like, who they are and finally, that they want to come back. If you do not care, a customer can tell. It is really simple to care, even if you are caring for your own benefit. A good sales person knows that in order to get the highest level of sales, you need to care about the customer. If you care, it doesn’t matter if you can gain more profit.