Long-term relationships are essential for any business to grow, but first, you have to build them. Learn 19 practical ways of how you can establish a strong long-term relationship with your customers in this post.
How to Build Long-Term Relationships With Customers
1. Provide Value to Your Customers
One of the first things that will draw a customer to your business is the solution you can provide for their problem. It may be something they’re seeking out or something they’re not yet aware of that you’ll introduce.
What will make them a long-time customer, though, is the value you provide. Find out what your customers want to get out of their relationship with your brand and deliver it.
While the solution you provide draws them in, the added value they get is what will keep them coming back.
2. Engage Your Customers
If you want to build and maintain relationships with customers, you must find ways to engage them. Customers who have a long-term relationship with a brand do more than just buy — they connect with the brand itself.
Connect with and engage your customers through your available channels to encourage them to come back. Depending on your business setup, you can do this through the following:
- Your website
- Email marketing
- Social media pages
Take it one step higher by personalizing your interactions with them. To achieve this, gather information on your loyal customers and use those to personalize their experience with your brand.
3. Know Your Customer
One advantage that startups and small businesses have is the opportunity to get to know their customers. If you have this opportunity, take it and make the most out of it.
Take the time to get to know your customers. For instance, learn their purchase history and preferences so you can use those to personalize your conversation with them.
As your business grows, you can use a database to keep track of information gathered from customer interactions. In this way, your sales reps can pull out that data to provide a unique customer experience.
4. Learn How They Interact with Your Brand
Give your customers what they need by learning how they interact with your brand. You can use web analytics tools to see who your customers are and find out how they engage with your brand.
One way you can do this is to check which pages of your website customers visit the most. From there, focus on highlighting and improving these pages to provide a better customer experience.
5. Give Your Customers Options
Customers are after the product and services you offer. More so, they patronize and build a long-term relationship with brands that can cater to their different needs.
You are more likely to turn off customers if you don’t give them opportunities to choose from different options. Give careful thought to your offers as you’ll want to provide options that customers patronize the most.
Create an inclusive brand that adjusts according to what customers need. For instance, here in Promotional Drives, we provide different flash drive options designed to cater to our customers’ preferences. This means they always have a viable option for any occasion or need.
6. Be Honest and Respectful With Your Customers
Authenticity and respect will go a long way when you want to build a strong and long-term relationship with customers.
They will know you are honest when you deliver what you promised them. It takes courage and effort to establish an honest brand that’s able to provide the benefits they promise. When you make this your long-term goal, you’ll surely reap from it.
Another essential to building a lasting relationship with your customers is respect. Show respect to every customer that comes in, and be consistent in doing so.
Consistency is key if you want to establish your brand as an honest and respectful one.
7. Respond to Concerns and Feedback
Customer problems are inevitable. Make sure you provide an attentive, friendly, and prompt service when customers air out their concerns and feedback. This goes for any customer, both new and long-time.
It’s especially important that you take care of customers who have a long-term relationship with your brand. Remember that it’s more expensive to bring in new customers than to keep the ones you have.
You can also be proactive in preventing and resolving customer problems by monitoring your online brand mentions. As much as possible, address these concerns so you’ll avoid losing customers and scaring off potential ones.
It’s also good to provide a two-way communication channel that your customers can access. For instance, you can create a website contact form and be responsive to concerns aired through your social media pages.
8. Be Patient in Building a Long-Term Relationship
Building a lasting relationship with your customers doesn’t happen in a short amount of time. It requires consistent effort and patience to win them over, so don’t give up!
You will see the payoff of your perseverance when customers start coming back and they become your advocates.
9. Let Them Experience Your Brand in Person
Find ways to personally meet your customers. When they see the faces behind your brand, they’ll be able to establish a stronger connection with you.
Human interaction in selling is still very important, even when you’re able to connect in other ways. You can make more impact on your prospects and long-term customers when you let them experience your brand in person.
10. Add a Personal Touch
Aside from meeting your customers personally, consider adding a personal touch to what you send them as well. People often receive digital messages and offers from businesses, but those are hardly thoughtful.
Why not send your customers appreciation gifts like a handwritten greeting card? You can also send them a bottle of wine to celebrate a special occasion such as their anniversary or birthday.
These thoughtful personal gestures will help you build lasting relationships with your customers. The more you know them, the more opportunities you get to build a long-term relationship.
11. Use Your Available Communication Channels
As you find ways to meet your customers in person, you should also make use of your available communication channels. Here are some examples of how you can connect with your customers through these channels:
- Create and Update Your Website — Your website is your own space where you can promote your offers, sell them, and update your customers. Take advantage of this by keeping it up-to-date with your customers’ needs.
- Grow Your Social Media Community — You don’t have to use every social media networking site available. Simply choose the ones that are relevant to your brand and grow your community there.
- Use Email Marketing — Email marketing allows you to meet customers in whatever stage of the buying process they are. It provides a more targeted approach compared to social media marketing.
12. Give Unique and Memorable Promotional Products
One of the ways on how you can make people easily recall your brand is through promotional products. If you give them items they can use every day, they’re more likely to retain your brand in their minds.
Unique and memorable promotional products can also help you build relationships with clients. You can regularly give away or send them promotional items for their personal use.
Not only will they be always aware of your brand, but they will also promote it whenever they use your promotional products. It’s a win-win situation for both you and your customers.
13. Check Your Customers’ Influence
While you should take care of all your customers, remember that some can be more valuable to you than others.
It’s also good to check your customers’ level of influence, whether online or offline. Once you’ve identified who your influential and critical customers are, you can focus on nurturing your relationships with them more.
The payoff can come in many ways, such as a positive review or when they share your brand with their network.
14. Don’t Expect to Sell on Your First Meeting
Some salespeople like to jump right into business upon meeting a prospect for the first time. They immediately promote and try to sell their offers right off the bat.
Avoid making the same mistake with your own prospects. It is always better to build a relationship with clients first before trying to sell them something.
This is one way to express how much you value them as customers, and it sends a message that you’re not doing this only for the sale. Strive to foster genuine care for your prospects and customers.
15. Let Them Know You’re Different
If you want to stand out from your competitors and gain long-term customers, educate them and show them you’re different.
You don’t have to say you’re the best. You only need to show what solutions you can provide, and how they are different from your competitors’. Ultimately, it is the customers who will decide if you are the best for them.
16. Keep in Touch
Make sure you stay connected with your customers even when they’re not in your store or online shop. Earlier, we mentioned different ways of how you can utilize different communication channels.
Make use of these marketing tactics along with others like direct marketing and SMS to stay in touch with your customers. These help your brand stay within their top-of-mind awareness, even when they’re not buying from you.
Keeping in touch with your customers can prove to be effective as long as you don’t spam them with messages.
17. Establish Excellent Customer Service
To gain a long-term relationship with your customers, you must first provide excellent customer service. It takes the whole team to pull this off in the best way possible.
From the management, down to your store and sales representatives, everyone should know what kind of customer service you want to provide. Give everyone proper training and equip them with the skills to handle customer concerns expertly.
You can create your own customer satisfaction policy to serve as the standard. Deliver on your brand promises, and don’t forget to thank customers every time they visit or make a purchase.
18. Communicate the Improvements You Make
Every time you change something that will directly impact your customers, share it with them. This could be a proactive improvement on your part or based on the customer feedback you received.
This way, you can show your customers that their needs and feedback are valuable to you.
It’s also good to include your customers in the product development process. Their suggestions can help you improve and produce products tailored to their needs.
19. Create a Rewards Program
Foster customer loyalty among your long-term customers by creating a rewards program. This will give them the incentive to keep patronizing your products and services and could even encourage new customers as well.
Take care of your long-term relationship with customers by showing them how you appreciate and value their trust and loyalty to your business.
Building a relationship with customers takes time and effort. However, the rewards of having a strong long-term relationship with them outweigh everything.
Just as you invest in your business, invest in your customers as well. When you provide them with the right solutions and excellent service, they’ll surely help your business grow!
What other tips can you share about building long-term customer relationships? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!