07 Dec INCREASING THE POTENTIAL FOR EXCEPTIONAL CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS
The 80-20 rule can be applied to many aspects of life and business including the fact that up to 80 percent of a company’s future profits are derived from only 20 percent of its customers. This means it is essential to determine the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) patterns including the amount they spend each month, the length of service and monthly variances. This is a vital component for any recurring billing business.
CLV is about much more than just the numbers though – your relationship with customers is also a vital component. With the understanding of what customers want and expect, any business will find that building, fostering and growing customer relationships is quite simple.
You have to be willing to take steps to show your customers you believe in the product/service you are offering. They also have to know you are willing to evolve your business based on their wants and needs. There are seven essential elements of building a customer relationship – regardless of the type of business or the size of the business you run.
- Mutual satisfaction
- Active listening
- Be Accessible
Do you offer guarantees? Stick by them. Are you offering an incentive for a receiving a month free when you sign up for a year of service – be sure you are ready and able to give this when the time arrives. It does not matter what type of product or service you have to offer, standing by your statements and providing whatever is promised is essential for growing and acquiring customer relationships.
Customers want to be treated as individuals. Each customer is unique and having the flexibility to meet their varying wants and needs will only improve their view of your company. Offer customized bundled services to save them money and, if you’re working with a flexible billing platform, experiment with various pricing strategies to see what works best.
This is a simple truth – when customers are satisfied they will come back time and time again. When they continue purchasing from the same business, they become a brand advocate, in many cases referring others to you, as well. Remember, when customers are shopping, they are giving you exactly what you want, be sure to ‘give back’ with incentives, ‘thank-yous’ and other recognition of their loyalty.
In today’s world feeling safe working with a business is a huge draw. Take the time and make the investment to let current and potential customers know that when they share their information with you, it will remain safe. You will not sell it, it will not be at risk to be stolen and no other issues will arise from shopping with your brand.
Are you really listening to your customers? While you may talk to them in person, on social media and over the phone, do you really hear the message they are trying to convey? Any truly successful business will not only listen to their customers, but act on the suggestions made.
Social media has made it so customers and prospects expect companies to be listening and responding almost immediately. Be sure you’re monitoring any space your customers spend their time and respond professionally and quickly – even if it means simply letting them know you hear them and will get back to them with a resolution.
Another key to accessibility is giving customers access to a self-service portal. Not only will they be happy to have visibility and access to their own account information, but you will free up time for your customer service team by allowing customers to take a DIY approach to account management.
Unless you are working with Willy Wonka, there is no need to sugarcoat information. Be straight, upfront and real when attempting to sell a product or service. Be clear about features and benefits, what the customer can expect, and most importantly what the product or service will cost them. No one likes to be surprised by add-on fees or features that aren’t included at every price point. Regardless of what you may be trying to do, when customers feel like they are getting the ‘whole story’ they will be much more open with their wallets, leading to more profits for your company.
Just like other relationships in life – ones with friends, family members and even people you barely know – there will be bumps in the road. The key is to learn from these bumps and ensure they do not occur again. Take the time to know what your customer wants and give it to them. Doing this will allow you to grow the relationship that will eventually lead to better and more loyal customers down the road.