5 Ways to Improve Customer Relationships

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By Mike Lieberman, Square 2 Marketing

How do you convince people to partner with you?

The focus has been shifting to customer service and customer relationships. In fact, some business leaders believe customer service is the last frontier for businesses looking to differentiate themselves from their competitors. By focusing on long-term customer relationships, managers and business executives believe they can improve sales and revenue, and continue growing their firms.

How do you build long-term customer relationships?

There are many ways to build long-term customer relationships, including more transparency to build trust, customizing customer experiences, sending personalized offers and support, collaborative selling, and more.

1. Customization and Personalization Build Customer Relationships
A popular saying among consumers is they want to be treated like people, not numbers. Many in the business world are taking this sentiment to heart as they seek to build and improve customer relationships.

This has meant an increasing focus on personalization. Sending out personalized emails is one thing, but true personalization means interacting and reacting to the customer on an individual level. You should still be sending customized emails, but also think about interactions on social media, sending personalized “thank yous,” and creating custom offers for your individual customers.

You may even go so far as to personalize the customer’s website experience, tailoring what they see to the most relevant information for their interests.

When customers feel they’re valued and seen as people, not numbers, they’ll be more inclined to continue working on a long-term relationship with your business.

2. Build Trust by Increasing Transparency
Many companies are rather secretive about their operations, and often with good reason. The problem, however, is customers don’t necessarily understand what it is your business does. Increasing transparency and giving people a “behind-the-scenes” look is an excellent way to build trust.

Trust is at the foundation of any long-term relationship with a customer. The more confident your clients feel in your expertise and skill, as well as what you actually do, the more they’ll trust you to provide them with the right solutions.

3. Focus Less on the Sale
Another way to build customer relationships is to shift the focus of the sales and marketing department. Many salespeople still believe their job is to pitch the product or service. While you want them to continue meeting their sales quotas, statistics show sales professionals often pitch customers long before they’re ready to make a purchase.

To the lead, this feels pushy and uncaring. Customers may be left with the idea you don’t truly care about their needs or solving their issues. Instead, take the time to get to know each customer and what they’re looking for. By focusing less on the immediate, short-term pitch and sale, you can build longer-term relationships with your leads and customers.

4. Provide the Right Content at the Right Time
One of the best ways to offer the support your customers need is to ensure you have the right content for them at the right time. This can help the customer as they move through the buying cycle.

By supporting the lead or customer with customized, relevant content and information, you’ll be able to address their individual needs and concerns. This is all part of offering a better customer experience.

5. Engage in Collaborative Selling
One idea that’s gaining rapid acceptance in sales circles is collaborative selling. Under this paradigm, you invite the customer to be an active participant in the sales process. By allowing them to work hand in hand with your sales people to craft custom solutions, you can inspire trust and ensure your customers feel more satisfied with the service you provide.

These are only a few ideas to help you build stronger long-term relationships with your customers. There are many tactics and steps you can take to improve customer relationships and truly offer better, more personalized service.

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