It can be easy to get caught up in having your main focus be the transaction when it comes to running a business. But, in today's consumer-driven market, customers have more power than ever before. If customer expectations aren't met, they can easily take their business elsewhere, and rightfully so.
So, instead of always trying to convince complete strangers that what you're offering is the best out there through inbound marketing alone, sometimes it's best to leverage your existing relationships for the best business outcomes. Companies must learn to establish real, long-lasting connections with their customers. And like all relationships, it requires continuous investment, mindfulness, recognition, and adaptation.
Customer Retention Over Customer Acquisition
There is plenty of marketing research out there highlighting how important customer retention is to business success, and oftentimes it's more critical for success than the initial acquisition of new customers.
For instance, research conducted by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company found as little as a five percent increase in customer retention can result in an increase in company revenue by 25-95%.
Also, American Express discovered retained customers often will outspend newer customers. This is more than likely due to the fact that they have already trialed your services and trust your brand and offering. So the next time they decide to use you, there isn't as much of a need for testing the waters.
Still not convinced?
Some flyers began using JetBlue for their most common flights.
Because they could earn points for every dollar spent on a flight (points which never expired), and they appreciated the airline's customer-first mentality.
Not to mention the free snacks...
Over time, most of these buyers took it a step further, paying $99 for a JetBlue Plus credit card, which allowed them to earn more points on every dollar they spent using the credit card. They could use these points for future flights, but alternatively, they could also use them on car rentals, hotel stays, or purchases with JetBlue retail partners, like Amazon.
Then, overtime, they convinced their friends to get a JetBlue credit card, so they could reap the same benefits.
You see where we are going here...
We are not trying to convince you to fly JetBlue, but we are trying to show you the power of relationship marketing.
By offering these types of rewards for long-term customers, and demonstrating a true, authentic desire to cultivate a deeper relationship with their audience, JetBlue doesn't need to spend much time or effort on acquiring new customers -- its existing customers are doing the heavy-lifting for them.
But you don't have to own an airline or a Fortune 500 company in order to satisfy your existing clients.
So, how do you build relationships with customers that help to set your business up to thrive?
Here's a quick overview:
Successful customer relationships are typically built in 4 stages:
As soon as you've made the sale, instead of moving on quickly and shifting your focus to the next sales opportunity, stand out by showing that you care. For example, send a follow up email, like our friends at EGGRS who offer term life insurance in Walnut Creek, CA. This will add value and most importantly experience to a transaction and really sets the tone for a long-term relationship, resulting in a loyal customer. The importance of trust in your brand from your customers shouldn't be taken lightly and is essential to the life of your business.
2- Value Recognition.
Showcasing value to your customers is huge when maintaining a quality business relationship. By investing in the customers that invest in you, you are proving that they are important and that they are more than just a customer. This could be as simple as setting a reminder in your calendar to tell your loyal customers happy birthday every year, or maybe even inviting them to your yearly hunting trip. It's the ones who go the extra mile that customers will remain loyal to.
3- Exceeding Expectations.
Sure, customer expectations being met is big when it comes to your business operations. But, customer expectations being exceeded? Now that's where the magic happens. By exceeding their expectations, you are proving you will go above and beyond what most companies do in order to ensure their satisfaction, like our friends at The Water Scrooge. Basically, under promise and over deliver. When your customers are impressed, they'll keep coming back.
When customers start promoting your products or services to others unprompted, on your behalf, like our friend's at Drip IV Lounge & Aesthetics and Senderra, it's safe to say you've built a solid business/customer relationship. But just because you think you've won them over, be careful not to take them for granted. Continue to nurture the relationship just like you did in the beginning, ensuring that they stay feeling important and valued.
Learn more about how leveraging your relationships can help your business thrive!
So, how you can leverage the power of relationships in your existing business without having to have your very own credit card and ink a deal with Bezos for treating your customers to their endless list of perks?
Download our Relationship Marketing guide below and start implementing these easy steps that will ensure you dazzle your existing paying customers, today!
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