Offering a great service or product is no longer a definite ‘seal-the-deal’ thing anymore. As the ever-hungry customer has an expectation above the cliff, you might want to pack a punch on your decisions. Simply put, you need to take a notch up and stand out from your competitions. And then plan on to bag yourself a truly loyal customer. Maybe it is time for you to treat them more seriously and transform their designation from customers as partners.
When you create a partnership with your customers, they will turn out to be your best advocates. Smart business developers are aware of the fact that losing a customer could cost them like a ton. But again, if you are thinking acquiring a new client would compensate – you might have to give a second thought. Well, if you are planning on treating customers as partners, you have halted on the right page. Here are some of the battle-tested points to help you do that.
- Communication is the Key
- Value the Suggestions and Feedback
- Trust and Honesty
- Yes to Word of Mouth Marketing
- Know your Prospect’s Expectations
Communication is the Key
You need to have an open and on-going conversation with your clients. To build a strong and healthy relationship, communicating is crucially important. Not only will this help you build on the trust aspect, but also will keep them satisfied at all times.
Aside from this, provide honest information to them. Be available to speak to your prospects with whichever channel possible. Whether they wish to reach out to you on a phone call, or via the website or social media – all that matters is how promptly you address them. This also speaks volumes about your professionalism, so do not take a backseat in such cases.
Value the Suggestions and Feedback
One of the best ways for converting customers as partners is by respecting their valuable feedback. Take this customer feedback on board and imply a significant dedication to each of them.
Also, act upon reasonable requests. Refrain from ignoring what they have to say. Actively encourage feedback, be it via surveys, or chats or related forms. This shows your customers that you genuinely value their presence and that you have a say.
Possibly, the important changes which weren’t visible earlier can now be vividly seen. Take note and follow through with these changes. You need to remember the golden rule, your customers are the lifeline of your business. And you wouldn’t want to overlook any reasonable requests, won’t you?
Trust and Honesty
For any relationship, the foundation is staged with honesty. Partnerships thrive when built on the virtues of trust and honesty. Now for building that trust, you may have to begin with being open about the company policies.
Alert them to large scale changes whether they being good or bad. And if you going to make changes to your services which might affect them, let them know in advance.
Note that trust between a business and its clients is sensitive. As they say, it takes up to 12 positive experiences to make up for one negative one. No matter how big or small your business is, it is best to be upfront and completely honest with your customers.
It is they who are going to use your products or services, so the last thing you would want to do is making an important change without giving them a heads up.
Yes to Word of Mouth Marketing
A great word of mouth is a priceless asset for any business. It is all about earning a customer recommendation. It is about harnessing the power of people to build brand awareness and loyal clients.
According to the Wharton School of Business, a customer you acquire from word of mouth has a 16-25% higher lifetime value than those you acquire from other sources. This will bring in loyal customers and increase customer retention rates.
And when you add a solid word of mouth marketing to proven techniques to increase the value of your sales and carefully analyze what your competitors are doing right (and wrong), you’ve hit on a winning combination that the competition won’t be able to beat.
This is why you need to embrace this technique right now, place it in the center of your overall marketing strategy, and work hard to increase it.
Know your Prospect’s Expectations
Far too many negative experiences with customers actually boil down to unmet expectations. The customer expected something, but you didn’t deliver — perhaps the expectation never even occurred to you, or maybe outside factors you couldn’t control got in your way.
So how do you do that? Begin with finding out what the customer expects as soon as possible. Talk to them, but most importantly, ask open-ended questions during your earliest conversations and listen to understand customer perception.
One of the other techniques which you can use is under-promise and over-deliver. This works almost every time. It’s tempting — especially for new small business owners/consultants — to expect too much of yourself and be highly motivated to “do whatever it takes” to close the sale.
But if you do that, you very well may end up not being able to finish on time or as promised and the customer will be disappointed. So, instead, do the opposite. Impress them with a longer schedule and quicker delivery within that. This will cut down the churn rates drastically.
Given, all the circumstances, it is very much possible that a customer might not always be right. Remember the customer is, however, always human. Keeping that in mind can help you develop and communicate empathy, which can quickly pacify unhappy customers. Be open, be honest, and actively seek customer feedback.
Be prepared to take action on customer feedback while jumping on customer issues as soon as you are aware that they exist. When you religiously follow the aforementioned practices, you are assured to convert the customers as partners.