Today’s consumers are interested in more than just what you’re selling them. They also care about how you sell it and what happens after you’ve made the sale. Building strong customer relations is an excellent way to encourage customer loyalty and retain high-value customers over the long term.
Customer relations is a blanket term that describes how a company interacts and engages with its customers. Good customer relations address short-term and long-term strategies that support customer success, forming the foundation of the modern customer experience (CX).
What is Customer Relations?
Customer relations are most commonly associated with customer service, but the practice goes much deeper. Customer relationship management is directed at building loyalty, and as such, encompasses customer success, customer support, and just about every aspect of a company’s outreach that influences brand image and the buying journey.
In a reactive state, customer relations are concerned with responding to needs or concerns a customer might have with the website, service, product, or support. Being able to solve problems quickly and to their satisfaction is critical.
Proactive customer relations look at building a strong connection with the customer over the long term. This effort involves anticipating customer wants and needs, whether it’s providing information, updates, or alerting them to upcoming offers they might benefit from.
When it’s done right, proactive customer relations help establish trust, brand affinity, and loyalty.
The Importance of Customer Relations
Good customer relations are the core of every successful brand. For as long as commerce and trade have existed, some companies have always stood apart from others because they put their customers at the forefront of everything they do.
At no time in history has customer relations been as important as it is today. In the past (i.e., before the internet), you’d build relationships with your clientele in person. Company owners and their employees had incredible influence over a customer’s purchase decisions. Once a company gained a reputation for excellence, word traveled quickly amongst business and social circles, bringing more people to the brand/store and driving repeat business.
Nothing much has changed in that regard. We all have our preferred stores, coffee shops, brands, and so on. However, the shift to online selling meant that customer relations had to change too.
For online businesses, it became vital to differentiate or risk losing sales to a competitor. Customer experience emerged as a primary concern in customer relations, as did how customer service was delivered.
Omnichannel became the gold standard in customer service. In the marketing realm, the focus was on making more emotional and meaningful connections with their audience through personalization, buyer personas, and targeted content.
You could say that, in many ways, modern CX offers the same value as traditional face-to-face interactions, thus strengthening customer relations.
The difference is that today, we accomplish this through technology. The right approach and the right tools help brands build strong relationships at scale, making growth possible and sustainable.
Top Benefits of Positive Customer Relations
Great customer relationships yield a range of benefits that resonate throughout the organization. We measure the value of customer relationships by retention rates, customer satisfaction, and brand perception.
Here are some of the top benefits of good customer relations:
· Happy Customers, Better Product
When you have good relationships with your customers, they won’t hesitate to tell you what you’re doing right—and where you can improve. If customers are unhappy, they’re more likely to jump ship and not say a word. Happy customers engage in two-way dialogue because they know you’re listening. Customer feedback helps you understand where to focus your efforts and helps you allocate resources more efficiently.
· Lower Cost of Acquisition, Higher Profits
By some estimates, it costs five times more to land a new customer than to keep an existing one. Increasing your customer retention by even a tiny margin can boost profits anywhere from 25 to 95%. Plus, it’s easier to sell to or upsell a customer that already loves you. They’re also more likely to refer you to their friends and colleagues.
· Customer Relationships, Loyalty, and The Bottom Line
When customers know you can give them what they want, whether it’s a product, service, or just great support and customer service, they’ll always come back.
Research shows that 86% of all buyers will pay more for a product or service if they have confidence in the customer experience. Trust is everything in today’s noisy digital landscape. Gain it, nurture it, and watch it grow.
How to Improve Customer Relations
Today’s customers have a voice, and they will use it. So, for better or worse, companies know that their words and actions resonate. A poor customer experience, and customers don’t hesitate to go elsewhere.
A good customer relationship requires empathy and agility. If there is one thing we’ve learned in the past year, especially, it’s that brands need to be alert to their customers’ needs and be ready to respond.
Here are five actionable tips to help you improve customer relationships.
1. Train Your Employees Well.
Build customer satisfaction from the inside out. When your employees and customer service agents are happy, informed, and empowered to problem-solve, those sentiments will resonate throughout the organization.
Strive for consistency to ensure all stakeholders are aligned to your brand message, mission, and vision.
2. Take Care of Your Employees.
There is much data to support the idea that happy employees equal happy customers.
Happy employees are more productive, and if they are happy, they’ll stick around, framing your organization as a great place to work as well as a great company to do business with.
3. Be Accessible.
With thousands of software solutions and SaaS dedicated to running your business more efficiently, it’s important not to lose sight of your most vital asset: people.
Technology is only as good as the people behind it. Make sure that there is a human standing by to step in when your chatbot can’t answer the question or to escalate a situation before it becomes a more significant issue.
4. Listen and Learn.
Organizations today collect massive volumes of data that can be leveraged to improve customer relationships.
Data can show you where your efforts are succeeding and where they lag. Recognizing the signals helps you achieve a proactive stance, solving problems before they bottleneck and driving customer satisfaction.
5. Use Technology to Your Advantage.
The right technology helps you master customer relationship management while supporting your teams with a scalable solution that helps them do more.
A modern CRM is a foundational tool that empowers your employees, breaks down informational silos, and aligns teams throughout the organization. A CRM also supports customer relations excellence, enabling omnichannel and encouraging loyalty through an elevated customer experience.
WayPath solutions are dedicated to helping you grow and improve customer relations through targeted, highly customized technology solutions.
Book a call today to learn more about WayPath CRM solution design, implementation, and integration. We’d love to be a part of your success story.