Deepening Customer Relationships: Five Common Sense Ways

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February 9, 2013
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To make a connection with your customer and deepen the relationship requires time, patience, and commitment — but building those relationships is the cornerstone of an enjoyable career as well as a business strategy that works.  Our CEO Jon Ferrara, for example, names his five E’s of engagement: Enhance, Educate, Engage, Empower, and Embrace.

There’s a lot of talk about the customer relationship that turns into an opportunity. But isn’t it the journey to that opportunity that is the enriching part of your life? It’s like that old saying that “life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” That’s another way to look at customers. They’re relationships — relationships Providence has placed in your path . You are entitled to enjoy them on the way to the sale — and after it.  Here are five  ways to enrich the experience.

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Focus on Them

How can you help them? What are their challenges and hurdles? What this boils down to is — don’t think about selling. Consider a future sale as a longer-term event. It’s a matter of growing trust and confidence. That’s what friendships are built on — why not business relationships?

Listen to Them

Real listening is rare and, as any woman will tell you, deeply appreciated. It’s the only way to understand what is important. Once customers feel they’ve been heard, they will be more willing to share. It becomes a never-ending flow of useful information. If customers have avenues to vent and to praise, you will be better equipped to move forward in a supportive, authentic manner.

Ask Their Preferences

Just ask! Do they prefer email? or some other method? Move thoughtfully to enable them to deepen the relationship. Analyze the data you gather through social media, opt-in campaigns, or other avenues. Pinpoint their area of interest and the best way to provide information. You may be surprised to learn that less expensive ways are more effective.

Show the Value You Bring

Why are you relevant? What are you bringing to the relationship? Do you follow The Golden Rule, or do you appear to be focused only on a sale? Demonstrate your value, and it will become clear why your products and services are worthy of their attention over your competitor’s. Many times, it’s what a company does beyond the sale that matters most. You represent your brand.  Curate interesting material and put it out to your network. Share, care, and thrive.

Aim to Delight

Free trials, guarantees, discounts, and other offers may be effective encouragements to customers to stay. However, the best way to reward your customers is to follow the four steps listed above. Make sure they get a return on their investment, and you’ll receive one as well. That’s the best way to deepen your customer relationships.

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February 9, 2013
About the Author: Alyson Stone is Director of Content Strategy for Nimble, and a frequent contributor to the blog.

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