There’s a wealth of alternative businesses online for customers to turn to should they not find yours satisfactory. Providing the correct product for a target market isn’t enough any more; relationship marketing needs to be used to connect with customers and keep them wanting to come back to you. You need to begin building relationships with customers and the best way to do this is through improving customer service. 61% of businesses agree that consumers are tuning out from mass marketing. Marketing needs to be personal and come through good service at every interaction.
Importance of relationships with customers
There are great benefits to treating a customer as something more than another sales statistic. For starters, building a relationship through improving customer service makes customers feel taken care of. Customers who feel taken care of are willing to pay more.
Relationships are the foundation of word-of-mouth recommendations. Generally speaking, customers don’t tell all of their friends about that time that they simply got the product they asked for, as they expect this every time. When a customer has a positive experience, they tend to share this with only a handful of close friends and family members. When they have a negative experience, they pass this on to many more, averaging at 12 others. If a customer has a relationship with you and has positive experience after positive experience then they are much more likely to refer you to others.
Relationships mean regular custom and a chance for you and your customer to learn about each other. Having a relationship with a customer means that they know more about you than the average first time customer, meaning that they need less technical support. Customers who know you save you time and money. When you know customers better it also means that you can better sell to them. Offering better recommendations based on knowledge of the customer means more sales.
Data from the new Econsultancy/Responsys Cross-Channel Marketing Report 2013 shows the value of building customer relationships, as 70% of respondents agreed that “it is cheaper to retain than acquire a customer.”
Customer service is the foundation of a relationship
The first step to building a relationship with customers is providing excellent customer service to customers time and time again. According to McKinsey, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Customers want to be treated like humans, not sales statistics. If you are helpful to your customers and work to solve their issues, then they will feel cared for by your company.
Providing assistance when the customer needs it, at all touch points, is what creates a relationship. If your company interacts with customers in a friendly manner and they can continue a conversation across channels it feels like a personalised service. It's as if you are going out of your way for them, even though you provide this for all of your customers.
Live chat is a fast and convenient way to provide customer service through your website. To provide truly outstanding customer service that customers remember though, it needs to be properly implemented with the rest of your customer service network. Live chat agents need to know when to escalate a problem and/or share information with another department.
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