The ABCs of meaningful customer relationships

By Kristie Sein

Published August 20, 2015
Last modified August 20, 2015

82% of small business owners said that loyal customers were the main way they grow their business.”

For small businesses, the returning customer is crucial for growth, and yet a “customer is four times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service related versus price or product related.” So how do we ensure great experiences for our customers? The foundation of any customer experience starts with the relationship we have with our customer.

Building blocks for developing meaningful relationships
Relationship-building takes time, effort, and dedication, but the more diligent you are with keeping up on check-ins with your customers, the more they will engage and feel comfortable expanding the business relationship. The basic building blocks for establishing stronger relationships with your customers include:

  • Advising your customer on the best solutions. Position yourself as advisor to their business success and customers will look favorably towards your business, which can lead to additional referrals or recommendations.
  • Building a repeatable process while remaining engaged with your customers. Leverage business tools, like a small business CRM, to help manage your customer relationships and interaction history so that you can engage with the customer, with full context of the relationship.
  • Connecting frequently with your customer to keep your business on the top of their mind. Maintaining regular communications with customers helps to build trust in the relationship and customers will be more likely to engage with your business for future opportunities.

When customers can see that your business is invested in their success, they’ll also continue to invest in your business. By maintaining strong relationships with your customers, you’ll establish long-term partnerships and long-run success.

Smart tools to support meaningful relationships
When your team has achieved a high-level of customer service through strong relationship-building, the challenge then becomes scaling that service experience across a growing customer base. Small businesses leveraging smarter technology to support their customer relationships can grow faster, move with more agility, and compete at a higher level. So while there are many great solutions out there, customer service platforms and CRMs for small businesses with these qualities will be key for your success:

  • Automatic – automation saves your team from manual processes and improves productivity. Time saved with your software is more time to connect with more of your customers.
  • Intuitive – while the technology might by industry-disruptive, it shouldn’t disrupt your day-to-day operations. A great product will be intuitive to handle and require very little training to get up and running.
  • Collaborative – different teams and stakeholders are always involved in the end-to-end customer experience, so having a collaborative solution where everyone has visibility is key to managing the customer relationship.
  • Intelligent – intelligent data is really about seeing the information in a new way, that is both actionable and productive. A smart tool should identify ways to help you work more efficiently so that you can augment your efforts.

Growing businesses and small teams have a large stake in cultivating healthy customer relationships. When leveraging smart technology, you can strengthen your relationships by becoming a trusted advisor and building a repeatable process to support frequent engagement.

This guest post was written by RelateIQ, a Salesforce company. RelateIQ is the simpler, smarter CRM, powered by innovative Relationship Intelligence technology. RelateIQ processes and analyzes customer communication data automatically to empower sales professionals to sell smarter without changing their daily business routine.