In 2021, consumers appear to be distancing themselves from big, faceless corporations, instead choosing to support smaller businesses. As a result, having meaningful customer relations is more important than ever.
Don’t think that it’s essential? Well, 96% of customers say that customer service is a crucial factor when it comes to brand loyalty. And, companies that focus on building customer relations are a whopping 60% more successful than those that don’t.
Customer relations is an undeniably important part of your business strategy.
What exactly is customer relations?
Firstly, keep in mind that customer relations are not the same as customer service.
Customer service is an inbound function; it’s your reaction to customers getting in touch with your company. Customer relations is all about the ongoing relationship with your customers, giving them a better experience with your brand in the long term.
Customer relations includes your actions through the entire customer lifecycle, while customer service only occurs when a customer initiates contact with your company.
Why it’s essential to have a relationship with your customers
Building a solid relationship with your customer is one of the most important strategies to focus on for any business. Having loyal customers can:
Increase your sales
By maintaining an ongoing relationship with your customers, you keep your brand top of mind for them.
One study found that businesses have a 60-70% chance of selling to an existing customer while the probability of selling to a new prospect is less than 20%. Sales professionals know it’s easier to put time into maintaining existing relationships than it is to form new ones.
Reduce customer attrition
The average business loses between 20-80% of its customers annually simply because of poor customer relationships. Conversely, when you build a solid strategy to retain a positive relationship with your customers, you can double or triple your growth rate.
Allow you to deliver invaluable marketing
When it comes to social media marketing, having an engaged audience is essential. If customers follow you but don’t interact with your content, the algorithm will push your posts to the bottom of their feed.
But if they like your social presence and frequently interact with your posts, you’ll appear more in their feed, and your brand will stay top of mind.
Increase your customer base by word of mouth
When your customers are happy, they’ll tell their friends about your brand — it’s simple! And we know that word-of-mouth marketing is often a lot more effective than paid marketing avenues.
Boost employee morale
Think back to the best job you’ve ever had — chances are, you were working in a place that had a good culture where everyone was treated well.
When employees see customers being treated well, it boosts their morale and develops a positive culture. Studies have even shown that companies with excellent customer experiences have more engaged employees than less customer-focused companies.
Deliver compelling and low-effort research and development insights
A two-way communication channel with your customers can give you great insights into your customer base.
You can find out what they want to see, how you compare to your competition, and how you could improve. Stay in touch with your customers via surveys or simply social media polling.
Ensure customer satisfaction
The majority of customers will not tell a brand when they’re unhappy with the service they received.
By maintaining an open relationship with your customers, you have the opportunity to get feedback about their experience — preventing them from complaining publicly without warning. Hell hath no fury like a customer scorned with an active Twitter account!
@thesedarlingdays for Patch'd
So what does it look like to have a positive connection with your customers?
It’s about shifting your thinking to view them as people rather than sales figures. When you view yourself in a long-term relationship with your customers, they’ll feel much more valued and less like an avenue to profits. Respond to customer issues as they arise and aim to resolve them as quickly as possible. And, be proactive in ensuring you maintain a positive long-term relationship; let your customers know you appreciate them.
Nine ways to build meaningful relationships with your customers
Interacting on social media
1. Cultivate a strong brand voice
Having a distinctive identity for your brand is essential for standing out and being memorable — especially now that there’s so much noise to cut through on social media.
While social media is still a place to share brand updates and product info, use your channels as a place to have fun with your customers. Share relatable content, memes relevant to your brand, and interactive posts like polls and surveys to keep your audience engaged.
2. Build an online community
Sites like Reddit are beloved for their online communities, where customers come together to chat about things they’re passionate about, from Harry Potter to bullet journalling.
In a similar vein, many brands have made Facebook Groups where their customers can come together and chat about various topics associated with your industry. Building a community like this is a great way to keep your brand top of mind, even when you’re not directly selling.
3. Make yourself super easy to contact
There’s nothing worse than trying to get in touch with a brand and being directed from their social media, to their website, to a link that just opens up a new email message.
If you have a large customer base, it may be worth setting up a dedicated service account on Twitter to respond to service requests and share product updates. Facebook’s inbuilt Messenger chatbot is also an extremely effective way to maintain communication with your customers.
4. Track online brand mentions and your share of voice
Social listening – monitoring specific topics and hashtags associated with your brand – is a great way to be on top of what people say about your company online.
Customers won’t always tag your company when they mention it in a post, but knowing what they’re saying is valuable information to track customer satisfaction. There are plenty of online tools that’ll help you track and analyse this.
5. Offer rewards and incentives
Who doesn’t love freebies? Hosting contests and giveaways on your Instagram feed is a great way to reward your audience for their loyalty. For example, run a competition where customers have to tag their friends to enter. It’s simple, gets customers engaged, and also expands your audience.
You could also share exclusive discount codes and information about flash sales on your social media. Again, this keeps your audience engaged and makes your social channels feel like an exclusive club, with members-only rewards!
6. Provide value
Why are people following you on social media? When the unfollow button is so easy to click, it’s essential to give your followers a reason to stick around, give them great content!
As well as your standard promotional content for your brand, you should be using your social channels to share fun content, educational videos, links to relevant articles, and information your customers actually want to know.
Using influencers to build a meaningful relationship with customers
7. Make partnerships with influencers
If you work with influencers already known within your niche, there may be an overlap in your audiences. When customers recognise someone they trust working with your brand, they’re much more likely to pay attention to your content.
Plus, partnering with an influencer gives you access to their audience, giving you a much larger reach.
8. Learn about your audience
The chances are that any influencer you work with already knows a lot about their audience. They’ve spent years building their platform, so they know what content resonates with their followers.
Tap into their knowledge about your shared audience, and learn how to create personalized posts for your users.
9. Utilise user-generated content
We’re big fans of user-generated content. It’s a win-win for both the user and the brand, so what’s not to love?
Encourage customers to share posts about your brand using your specified hashtags, then comb through the content and repurpose it on your channels. Featuring real photos from real-life users helps humanise your brand and indicates that you are community-oriented in your approach to business.
Keen to work with influencers, but you’re not quite sure where to start?
If you’re new to influencer marketing, getting started can be a little daunting. TRIBE helps brands unlock instant branded content from skilled and influential creators who already use and love them. Find out why some of the world’s biggest brands use TRIBE.
Get in touch today to find out how it all works!