Regular communication with customers and clients is something that businesses often do without having any clear strategy or purpose.
This is short-sighted when you consider that 80% of a company’s profits comes from just 20% of their customers.
This does not mean that a business should bombard its customers with a barrage of sales messages using every means at its disposal from emails to telephone calls to social media.
There is plenty of data available about customer contact and their pet hates including unhelpful service agents, inability to get help when problems arise, too frequent emails, making unsubscribing difficult, and many others.
Building effective relationships with customers should be much more nuanced and not always about selling them something.
It depends on having an effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that is frequently updated and provides more than just a record of orders placed, but also of follow-up communication, and some personal information.
The art of nuanced customer communication
Here is where that old cliché “people buy from people” applies. It means knowing a bit about customers as individuals: what’s their current business challenge? how do they like to be contacted? do they have any pet hates? It may mean knowing milestone dates like their birthday, whether they have children, loved pets, even what their particular non-work interests are. All of this can be recorded in a good CRM system and some include automatic reminders when a significant date is coming up.
Customer communication is about building and sustaining long-term relationships and businesses can build on this information by identifying clear purposes to their customer communications.
The basics include ensuring that they remain aware of your business, informing them about new products or services, and monitoring the relationship by checking they are happy with your service, such as using a brief questionnaire at the end of a job or carrying out a customer satisfaction survey.
More nuanced contact might be thanking customers for their business and support, passing on leads, or sending them relevant articles or information about subjects that you know are close to their hearts.
Thanking customers for their support, sending greetings on milestone dates, sending them interesting articles or details of events and seminars on topics that you know are close to their hearts may not at first sight seem to have much to do with closing a sale or winning a repeat order.
However, relationships with customers are essentially all about valuing them and providing evidence to make them feel valued.