7 tips for creating lasting connections with customers
Learn 7 simple steps to build customer relationships and help a small business thrive.
A good reputation of customer service is essential to any business’ long-term success, because reputation plays a critical role in a consumer’s loyalty to a brand.
And for small- and medium-sized businesses, a personalized shopping experience is the true hallmark of success — there’s a friendly face to greet customers, answer questions and help find the best product for the shoppers’ needs. Therefore, improving customer service is one of the best strategies for growth.
However, the rise of online shopping is rendering the personal touches of the customer experience obsolete. Rather than shop in store, Americans are turning to the convenience and ease of expedited shipping that large retailers can afford to offer.
In order to remain competitive, small business owners must diversify how they engage with customers and nurture brand loyalty. Doing so plays to their greatest strength — personalized care and service — and offers a competitive edge. Small- and medium-sized businesses can follow these seven guidelines to ensure they’re positively connecting with clients and fostering lifelong customers through personable actions and reliable telecommunications.
1) Give each customer 100% of your attention.
Running a business requires multitasking — there are a plethora of things that can divert your attention throughout the day. However, when speaking with a customer, distractions can come across as disinterest, leaving the customer to feel unappreciated and undervalued. Instead, giving each customer your undivided attention shows they have your respect and consideration.
2) Keep it personal!
Customer service is not one-size-fits-all. Each experience should be catered to the individual so that it feels personal and special — not transactional. Consumers want to be treated like a person, not a sale. When speaking to customers — whether in person, over the phone or virtually — keep it conversational. Simply asking “How is your day going?” is a great way to show your interest and form a connection.
3) Prioritize the customer’s comfort.
Whether shopping in person or virtually, ensuring the customer is comfortable and at ease should be a top priority. Make them feel welcome from the very first interaction. When in person, this starts with a smile and friendly “Hello!” When shopping online, a seamless and easy-to-navigate website is a must; shoppers may be quick to abandon purchases because of a bad user experience. Regardless of the platform, ensure customers have a way to ask questions and address concerns with one of your representatives.
4) Be transparent.
Transparency is a key part of forming genuine connections with your customers. There will always be challenges to your business, but being upfront about setbacks can be the difference between a loyal customer and lost business. Negative customer experiences are inevitable in any business, however, transparency may create another chance to give that customer a positive experience and build brand loyalty. And, during a crisis, loyal customers are more likely to continue supporting their favorite brands. In other words, fostering transparency with your customers cultivates a relationship founded on trust and encourages brand loyalty.
Leverage tech to connect.
5) Get creative with the platforms you use.
With online shopping on the rise, digitizing the customer experience is important to keep on pace with your client base. Offering online demos, Q&A video conferences and virtual shopping portals can help customers stay connected with your business when they’re not in store.
Keep in mind, the digital experience must be seamless, because consumers will most likely stop engaging with a site if it takes too long to load. To keep your customers engaged and satisfied, leverage a reliable internet provider like Cox Business, which reinvests in its digital infrastructure and offers dedicated, 24/7 support to ensure your business remains connected with your customers.
Meet your customers on social media.
6) Interacting with consumers on various social platforms is a great way to foster customer relationships. Not only does it provide an opportunity to share personal content such as the faces of your staff or happy customers, it’s also a natural part of the buyer’s journey in 2021. More than half of social browsers use social media to research products. Keep your customer base informed with timely product updates, new features and special promotions.
Use automations to address concerns promptly.
7) When customers have questions or concerns about a product or service, always address them as quickly as possible. According to Harvard Business Review, responding to a customer’s request within one hour makes it seven times more likely that you’ll close a sale than if you were to respond within two hours. Set up automated emails to reply to customers whenever a query is submitted, letting them know you’re looking into the matter and will follow up as soon as possible. This confirmation is reassuring to the customer, and is especially useful outside of business hours.