It’s easy to think that building and managing consumer relationships should be intuitive and straightforward – but it’s surprising how many businesses get it wrong. And while you might assume that large organizations with major resources have an advantage in building consumer relationships, it’s often the case that small and medium businesses, with a more focused customer demographic, have an advantage when it comes to building rapport and reaching customers on a more personal level.
Here are four of the key business behaviors that we believe are central to building strong and lasting consumer relationships.
- Communication. Every modern business understands the need to use social media channels and other platforms – including your own website – to communicate with existing and would-be customers. A mistake made by too many is to forget that communication needs to flow both ways. If you fail to listen to and interact with your customers in addition to promoting your brand, that’s not a relationship – that’s a broadcast. Listening to your customers isn’t just a great way of building a connection, it can also give invaluable insights that can help shape your business’s decision making.
- Appreciation. Customers don’t necessarily need to have a last-straw cause for complaint to ditch your business for a competitor. Sometimes all it takes is for them not to feel appreciated as a loyal customer. Key to maintaining strong consumer relationships is actively showing your appreciation for customer loyalty. One of the most straightforward and effective ways of doing this is by financially rewarding customers for their patronage, whether that’s in the form of reward cards, a points plan, or some other program that rewards repeat customers with discounts off future purchases.
- Deliver excellence. At the end of the day, if you provide your customers with sub-par products or – perhaps more significantly – sub-par customer service, you will swiftly drive them to a more reliable competitor. At the heart of maintaining positive consumer relationships is delivering excellence. Ensure employees at all levels of your organization have a keen focus on customer service and maintaining positive public relations, and there will be a much higher likelihood of your customer being delighted and returning to your brand for their future needs.
- Seek and act on feedback. Actively seeking input from your customers is one of the best ways of both understanding and predicting their needs and guiding your future business strategies to fulfil those needs. Depending on the nature of your business, this could take the form of putting out customer comment cards in your retail space, conducting an online survey, or reaching out through social media channels. Most importantly, once you have received that feedback, use it. Only by thoroughly processing and analyzing this vital customer data can you gain the consumer insights that your business needs to grow.z
Contact Beyond Fifteen today to discuss how we can help with your public relations strategies and explore how to build and strengthen your consumer relationships.