Fri 2 Mar 2007
Bonding With Your Customers
We've all heard of customer loyalty — and I'm often asked the best way to achieve it. Did you know that gaining a new customer can cost five times more than what it takes to retain an existing one?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines bonding as “the state or character of being related”. As far as business is concerned, it is understood as more of a network of people, where all are linked to your business. There might be some potential and some current customers among them. How you attend to your customers and what their opinion is about your company and customer relations affect your company in the long run.
Here are some tips you can implement to ensure healthy bonding with customers:
Listen — A very important key to good communication, learn to listen to what the customer has to say. Be attentive when they talk to you. Let them know that they are important to the business and you are there to answer all their questions. Avoid being distracted during a conversation; this discourages the customer from interacting.
Remember minute yet important details — When you talk to a customer, mention certain personal details they might have mentioned long ago. This makes customers feel special and cared for, thus making that personal connection between the customer and you. Making this connection helps to spread the word about how great your business is!
Keep customer relations friendly — When you converse with customers, try and keep conversations jovial and casual, but don't cross the line. Keep track of their special occasions like birthdays or wedding anniversaries. Send an e-card or a personalized letter on the occasion. Along with the letter, you can also present them with a discount that they can claim in a specific time period. Making customers feel that you care matters a lot. This gives a feeling of involvement of the company in the client's happiness and satisfaction.
Make new customers but keep the old — In the race to get new customers, companies often forget about the old ones. This is one of the main causes of losing customer loyalty. Companies lose customers out of sheer negligence. Although they may not intend to overlook them, the inability to promptly answer their questions and attend to their needs creates misunderstandings - which is why companies should check on their customers from time to time. If there are times when the company is unable to promptly attend to their questions, apologies should be made.
The moment your customers and you bond well, half the battle is won. After that, you have to work on keeping these customers and improving relationships.