11 Ways to Stay In Touch With Your Customers
Building relationships are the key to long-term business growth and stability. The key to building relationships is staying in touch. It seems that it is increasingly difficult to stay in touch with our busy customers these days. So, how do we build relationships if we are like two ships passing in the night?
The first step is to become familiar with your customer. Take the time to learn about the people and things that are important to them. Make notes in their file or create a database to track the information. Record information about birthdates, anniversaries, hobbies, favorite sports teams, etc. , or whatever details are pertinent to your relationship with your customer. Update the file whenever new information is available. If you use a database, be certain it is secure. Check the customer's file before you contact them, or if they call you with questions so you are prepared. Tech-laden lifestyles stand in the way of face to face contact so information is key to building modern relationships.
Toos like Google Alert and Social Mention (a social media search engine) can help you stay on top of the latest news with your customers. Google Alert allows you to set up alerts that notify you of changes across the internet. You can receive an email (There are other notification options.) when your customer is mentioned in the news or on social media. This allows you to send out congratulations or contact a customer if you can help them in some way. Think of these tools as news gathering services.
If your Customer has a Blog, you can comment on their Blog posts or ask them to guest post on your Blog. Everyone likes it when their work is recognized so an invitation to post on your Blog is a compliment and an opportunity to promote themselves.
If your Customer has a business, Like them on FaceBook. Comment on social media posts when appropriate and help them build goodwill with their customers. Avoid posts or topics that may create an issue for them with their own customers.
Do business with your Customer if at all possible. (Some businesses do not offer items you need, such as a veterinarian if you do not have pets.) If you have already done business with a Customer, post a positive, honest review of their products and or services. Mention traits that help them stand out from other businesses. Don't mention the review or ask that they reciprocate, the act should be authentic.
Send out regular newsletters. Include information that may be informative or entertaining. Be concise, respect your Customers time and provide information in as timely a fashion as possible.
Refer business to your Customers business. We are all grateful when someone sends us business. Your Customer probably feels the same way. Always make referrals with no strings attached, no one likes to feel obligated. If your Customer feels like your referral was simply so you could sell them something, you may lose a Customer in the process.
Do not waste your Customers time. Each time you reach out to your Customer they should benefit or they may not feel like the contact was warranted. Every contact should provide value, the value may be in the form of information, instruction, congratulations or any other form that offers value to your Customer.
Request their insight into your products and services. Use a survey or questionnaire, ask them to beta test a product, email them for their views on new products or services. Ask questions that prompt the Customer to respond. (For example: What type of impact do you feel this product will have on the market, or what types of businesses may use this service.)
Deliver valuable news, even if it is bad news. For example, A financial advisor may contact a customer that will be impacted by a new tax law. No one wants to pay more taxes but most people appreciate knowing about the tax in advance. Your Customer will appreciate the fact that you thought of them and are looking out for them.
Finally, pick up the phone and call to ask if there is anything you can do for them, and mean it. Technology offers us so many ways to stay in touch with Customers, but we often don't take advantage of them. If we respect our Customers, their time, and their privacy we can build an old-fashioned relationship in an era when face to face interaction is no longer commonplace.