Did you know that research by Bain & Company shows that a 5% increase in customer retention can result in a 25% increase in profits over time? While the cost of acquiring customers may be more than retaining them, remember Pareto’s 80-20 principle which states that 80% of your profits come from 20% of the loyal customers. The trick is to find your 20% and aim to nurture them for a lifetime.
Relationship marketing offers a wide range of advantages, including:
- Higher brand loyalty
- Increased word-of-mouth
- More customer confidence
- Cross- and up-selling possibilities
- An increased client lifetime value
- More marketing effectiveness
Therefore, it is wise for companies to invest in retention & relationship-building marketing strategies to sustain the competition in the long run.
Here are 5 ways you can build a relationship with your customers or prospects:
Build A Strong (Brand) Personality
It takes more than just providing clients with a high-quality product to have a strong brand image; you also need to emotionally connect with them. Although many people don’t require dozens of pairs of Apple iPhones or Qatar Airways, these companies convey a certain image that is crucial to the personalities and lifestyles of their users.
Understand what your brand stands for and then direct all your sales, marketing and product/service deliveries towards giving your customers an experience that they will remember your brand for. When your customers know how you made them feel, you know you have a strong brand image.
Invest In Engagement
Social media is a great way to plan and execute an engagement strategy for your audiences. Here are some things you can do on social media to increase engagement:
- Organise neighbourhood gatherings or charitable events
- Support neighbourhood groups that advocate for just causes
- By providing redeemable (gamifying the experience) online tokens or store points for purchases, participate in the digital economy.
- Provide discount and coupon offers along with a special store credit card or loyalty programme.
Social media is a great place to start your relationship marketing journey. It is also a great place to nurture your prospects as well as customers, give customer service and improve brand visibility.
Giving Customer Service
As important as it is to assist your customers before they make a purchase, I’d go as far as saying, it is more important to assist your customers post-purchase – especially if you are consciously wanting to invest in relationship marketing.
- Never employ automated tellers or outsource customer service demands.
- React immediately to criticism on reviews or social media channels.
- Provide amiable resolutions to negative feedback and events.
- Organize forums where clients can express inquiries about your goods or services (if applicable).
- Utilize tutorials to assist clients in resolving issues on their own.
- For a physical problem that’s challenging to solve over the phone, provide advice or installation services.
- Follow up regularly to know if your customers are satisfied with the product or service.
Please Be Authentic
Customers are spoilt for choice and they know when a business is trying to solve its own problem at the expense of the customer’s problem. Try not to be perceived as just another business that cares about its profits more than its products and if those products solve the problems for the customers. The key to avoiding this is by staying true to your brand image and being conscious of how your audience perceives you.