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For any small business owner and entrepreneur, solid customer relationships are at the root of every successful career.

These are the relationships that will ensure the stability of growth of your business, and keep some money coming in even when things slow down through the slower months.

If you’re finding it difficult to build these customer relationships, here are some tips to help you find and keep loyal customers.

Keep it personal

Approaching individuals as a business runs the risk of being commercial and forcing the customer further from the company than before (which can be quite a feat if you’ve had no previous contact).

To keep them from running for the hills and instead get them wanting to be welcomed into your arms for a brew and a chat, you need to keep it light hearted.

However you’re getting in touch, whether it’s through social media or a networking event, make sure you start with an opener that isn’t business related.

This is a great way to start for both; you can gage the personality of the person judging from their response and decide on how to proceed, while the customer gets the idea that your company really cares about the company.

Communicate openly

If a customer pops up on social media with a mean comment about your service or product, don’t delete it or ignore it.

Customers value companies that can address people about their service and demonstrate honesty. There are even plenty of articles doing the rounds on social media about companies that have put some unruly customers in their place with a witty reply.

However, this isn’t an excuse to have a pop at any customer that gets on your nerves. Remember to listen to customers worries and help them as much as possible if it’s a genuine enquiry.

… But not too much

While you want to be open, you don’t want to engage in a heated debate with someone who simply doesn’t think your company is that great – as much as you might want to prove them wrong!

Know when to draw the line with hecklers; asking people to speak in private is the perfect way to get out of the ring into a sensible backstage conversation.

Remember that you’re acting on behalf of your company, and making a snide remark won’t win you any favours.

Offer rewards

Customers appreciate companies that recognise loyalty. That’s why every so often companies should offer rewards and discounts to their customers in return for their loyalty.

Whether it’s a competition to win a meal for two or a discount on your services or product, customers leap at the chance for a freebie.

This can also be a great way to raise brand awareness, so don’t be afraid to try something new and entice your customers into loyalty!

Be genuine

More than ever, customers want to feel like they’re communicating with a person, rather than a company.

That’s why being your complete self and happy to chat as a person rather than a brand is vital to create a customer-centric company – just remember that you’re still representing the brand, so being professional is still important!

What are your best tips for building strong customer relationships? Leave them in the comment section below!

 

About The Author

Stephanie Whalley

Serial snacker, compulsive cocktail sipper and full time wordsmith with a penchant for alliteration, all things marketing and pineapple on pizza.

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