The world is built on relationships. The business world is no exception to this rule. As your startup expands into a company of its own right, you’ll soon find that a lot of your time is spent managing relationships and working on communication with vendors, investors, employees, and customers alike.
It’s a simple fact that people buy from people. Even now, when a lot of business is undertaken online, everything comes down to relationships and personality. If you, as a business owner, work hard on your customer relationships and improving your customer experience, you will find that your profits will likely increase.
Happy customers come back for more. Sometimes, they even tell other people about how great your business is, potentially winning even more customers. If you have a core set of satisfied, loyal customers who provide plenty of repeat business, you will be far more likely to succeed.
So, how can you build these relationships with your customers?
While communication is no less important than it once was, you have to admit that it looks different now than it did years ago. While there is still definitely a place for brick-and-mortar stores where you interact with customers face-to-face, and this article will touch on that, a lot of your communication with customers takes place online.
Whether you have a fully online store or a local brick-and-mortar store, you can’t underestimate the importance of social media. Social media is where people spend a lot of their time, and it’s where you can connect with them directly.
When using social media, make sure that you define your brand early. A clear personality helps, whether the social media account is simply you talking to your customers or a different voice designed around your brand.
You should create regular content that provides value to your customers. This can be sharing useful information or releasing deals and promotions. You want people to want to listen to what your social media account has to say, rather than just scrolling through and ignoring it.
This opens your company up for open and direct communication with customers. Remember, people buy from people. If your online presence is likable and distinctive enough, people are far more likely to use your business.
Social media is also a fantastic way to solidify your brand and take part in community events or even show your support for specific movements. For example, most people are more environmentally conscious than ever before, and therefore more likely to support a company with the same focus. Use social media to appeal to these customers and show what your business is doing for the environment.
While a lot of business now takes place online, there is still plenty of benefits in focusing on that face-to-face interaction. People are different online and are less likely to buy something just because they like the person selling to them. But when it comes to in-person shopping, good interactions are key.
Ideally, any employee who has a customer-facing role should undergo specific employee training to help them interact with customers successfully. Even simple things like smiling, being polite, and being watchful of anyone who might need help are great first steps to making that sale.
Different areas have different expectations of customer service, and each customer is unique. Some people appreciate it when a salesperson talks to them about specific products and how they can help them. Others prefer to be left alone. Being able to identify this difference and work out what the customer wants quickly is key.
Salesperson-specific training can differ, depending on what you’re selling. Your salespeople should be familiar with the products and able to at least find the information that a customer wants quickly. Selling is a skill, and some people are better at it than others. So, while you should focus on training your employees, it’s also a good idea to identify their strengths so you can utilize them better.
Nobody likes to have to fork out money to pay for things, but that is one of the key parts of doing business. We’ve explored the importance of training employees and how to develop a good sales patter, but at the end of the day, you can’t ignore the importance of price.
Pricing your product or service is never easy. You have to balance the cost to your company between potential profit margins, while working out how much your customers are willing to pay. When it comes to a product, this might be easier, because that product has a set price.
Look at the market prices for similar products and work out a fair price that will net you a healthy profit. But what about quoting for services?
This can be more complicated because every job might be different.You have to balance a lot more, while trying to work out a fair price quickly enough that your customers don’t get irritated and move on. Field service quoting software can be a lifesaver when you’re trying to work out a quote in the field. It gives the customer the price they need to hear, all without the awkward waiting around and trying to calculate every little thing.
This also allows you to offer free quotes, so customers are happier coming to your company for work.
Customer Service and Support
Last but certainly not least, you need to ensure that your business has fantastic customer service and support. Customer service refers to the whole experience of purchasing a product or service from your company, and it matters about as much as the product itself.
The trick is to make it as easy as possible for your customer to spend their money and receive their product. Be open and communicative, especially when there are delays or other issues. Good customer service can make the difference between a loyal customer and someone who never returns to your company again.
If the customer has issues or complaints, work with them to resolve the issue as quickly and smoothly as possible.