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How to develop meaningful long-term customer relationships

December 10, 2015 | Laura Baines

 

long-term customer relationships

‘Customer satisfaction does not always translate to loyalty. A satisfied customer is simply someone who has received what he was promised – nothing more, nothing less.’

MarketingProfs

Why is it important to gain loyal customers?

After the hard work and high cost of converting a fresh lead to a much-prized sale, it’s important to keep up the pace and transform a satisfied customer into a loyal one.

Developing loyal long-term customer relationships is vital to any business; Gartner group statistics tells us that 80% of a company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of their existing customers. (SuperOffice) This is because it’s possible to achieve a much better conversion rate from customers who already trust you, while you have the added benefit of knowing more about your customer’s needs. It also costs less to retain customers than it does to find them, due to the lower cost associated with marketing to them and the opportunity to migrate conversations away from price to one of product.

So how do you develop these all-important long-term relationships with customers?

The foundations of creating long-term customer relationships

Regularly delighting customers is no painless task, but here are a few top tips to help make the process altogether easier.

1. Compile detailed, accurate customer data

Having worked with your customer to deliver your first sale, you should already know a bit about them, their company and what they’ve bought. But what about the personal touch? What’s their current business challenge, how do they like to be contacted, and do they have any pet hates? Knowing and accurately recording this information can start to paint a brilliantly detailed picture of your customer and provide a much more genuine connection between them and you.

2. A well-managed CRM system

Having collated so much valuable information about each of your customers, it’s important to store it in a maintained system in order to use it in subsequent conversations. It needs to be flexible enough to record follow-up communication, information and orders. A central CRM system often feeds other marketing tools too, such as your email platform, so therefore, needs to be kept updated to reach the right individual and deliver maximum returns.

3. A collection of useful resources

Whether created or found, tools and resources that can be shared with your clients are useful conversation starters and reasons to stay in touch. Try and collect a wide variety of information across all the relevant industries your business works with, to ensure you are seen as experts in the field by your customers

 long-term customer relationships

Keeping in touch

To develop sales into loyal long-term customer relationships, you need to go above and beyond what is expected to deliver an order, and offer true added value.

The best way to achieve this added value? Communication. Regular, relevant conversations with your customers. Whether it’s sharing something you’ve seen, delivering a piece of content, or simply calling to catch-up on something discussed in your last meeting with them, keeping in touch demonstrates they are front of mind and valued by the business. Content and information sharing also ensures your customer feels like they are getting something extra out of the relationship other than simply what they ordered.

Connecting on social media is now one of the easiest ways to maintain communication with a customer. Content sharing couldn’t be easier with social platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn and there are multiple ways to connect with someone. The chatty nature of social media should make it less restrictive when opening up a conversation, and you can stay in touch simply by liking or commenting on something they’ve shared.

 long-term customer relationships

You should make it easy for your customers to stay in touch with you too. Make it obvious where they can sign up to your businesses updates, or read your newsletters and blogs. Invite their feedback, and allow them to invest their ideas into your business. By keeping the conversation two-sided, the relationship remains balanced.

Personalisation

Finally don’t forget to personalise your communications. Go beyond the standard personalisation options of your email platform and demonstrate to a customer you know them better than that. Wherever possible, do send out relevant rewards or offers to your best customers too, or create exclusive content just for them.

By setting the foundations, you’ll have the knowledge, systems and resources in place to utilise the methods above and develop long-term customer relationships.

At Nimlok, we deliver new and innovative ways to interact with prospects and customers alike. To find out more, visit our engagement pages online here.

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