Here is some great advice from Paul Bowkett, CRM Business Manager with Microsoft New Zealand, Five Tips for Building Stronger Customer Relationships. Be sure to check out the complete source article for more:
Many of your existing customers could be better sources of new business than the names on your prospect list, so building stronger relationships with current clients should be one of the top priorities.
5 tips for building stronger customer relationships
- Regular, relevant and timely communication – No matter what industry you work in or the scale of your customers, the impact of regular, relevant and timely communication will be the same. As with all relationships, in order to grow and better understand each other, communication has to be regular without being annoying and unnecessary.
- Give loyal customers preferential treatment – Sounds simple but when was the last time you felt valued as a customer? Identify customers that have been loyal to your business and reward them for their continued support. Give them special offers, let them know about new products first, invite them to special events, as well as sending them Christmas gifts or birthday presents/specials.
- Move from a transaction-based relationship to a partnership – Take an active interest in your customer’s business and move from doing what’s expected of you, to getting more involved in your customer’s world. Make an effort to understand their business objectives and company ethos so you can become more than just a supplier.
- Don’t try to move things too fast – Building a relationship is a long term investment and it takes time to develop trust. Don’t expect your customers to instantly trust that you will be able to deliver on your promises, or expect them to want your advice and input for their business.
- Be open and authentic – People value authenticity. If you are serious about a long-term business relationship with your customers, you have to be upfront and honest. No one likes to feel like they are being deceived or manipulated.
Make sure that you always act with integrity, being as open and honest as possible. Customers will often understand that things don’t always go as planned and will have a certain level of tolerance as long as you are upfront with them.