“It is not the employer who pays the salary. The bosses only manage the money. It is the customer who pays the salary”.Henry Ford
Building strong customer relationships will certainly help contribute to the success of your business, and in today's customer-centric market, customer relationships are a must. After all, more90 percentof consumers are likely to spend more at companies that offer enhanced conversational experiences.
Whether you're cultivating long-term customer relationships or laying the groundwork with someone new, it's crucial to understand the importance of customer relationships and how prioritizing your business can create loyal customers and brand advocates.
- What is the customer relationship?
- Benefits of customer relationship.
- The importance of customer relationship.
- Who is responsible for customer relations?
- What makes a great customer relations employee?
- Customer relationship strategies
- Customer relationship tools.
What is the customer relationship?
Customer relationships refer to the methods, strategies, and processes a company uses to build and maintain customer relationships.
Every customer interaction has an impact, and it's more important than ever that companies consistently meet expectations. According to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report, consumers have higher expectations for customer service now than they did a year ago. If you continually deliver great experiences, you will develop strong customer relationships, and that emotional connection can keep customers coming back even if you drop the ball.
74% of customers say they will forgive a company for their mistake after receiving excellent service.
Customer relationships are one of the most underrated aspects of potential business growth. In its customer relationship study, Watermark Consulting compared data from the same companies over 11 years. They found that leading customer experience companies outperformed their competitors by a 3-to-1 margin. That margin represents millions of dollars and a solid, undeniable market advantage.
Customer service x Customer relationship
Customer relationship is about methodologies and customer service is about reactive interactions; both are crucial and work together to create a good customer experience.
The customer service team plays a key role in growing customer relationships as they are often the first point of contact for customers. InCustomer service, agents help customers in real time resolve issues and provide a positive journey through the sales funnel. This presents opportunities to gather feedback and information about customer issues and behavior that can be communicated across teams.
Businesses can use the valuable data collected from customer service interactions to foster customer relationships and proactively strive to improve the customer experience and resolve issues before they affect customers.
Examples of customer relationship activities
What are examples of customer relationships? Here are some specific activities of a customer relations team:
- Consistently provide excellent customer service
- Analyze customer feedback through surveys and customer service interactions
- Establishment of marketing strategies.
- Work with technical and IT teams to streamline customer interactions and reduce wait times
- Build and maintain brand credibility.
- Ensure the customer service experience is consistent across all customer touchpoints
- Propose solutions to common customer problems, bottlenecks and delays (including researching and proposing the right solution).sales and marketing software)
Not all teams will put the customer first, that's understandable. Each department has its own KPIs and goals to achieve, so not everyone will necessarily focus on the same things.
That's what customer service is for: so you never forget about the customer.
Benefits of Positive Customer Relationships
What does customer relationship mean for your business? Here are some of the key benefits to help your business thrive.
Increased customer retention:Satisfied customers make repeat purchases and recommend your products to friends and family. This is free advertising and invaluable passive income simply by creating a positive customer experience. FORStudio Bain & Companyand found that a five percent increase incustomer retentionIt can produce a 25% increase in profits at the very least.
More customer loyalty:When you have a great relationship with your customers, they are unlikely to leave you for a competitor, even if they get a better price. According to our CX Trends Report, 70% of customers said they base their purchasing decisions on the quality of customer service. These intangible incentives created by strong customer relationships drive customer loyalty.
Better business reputation and brand credibility:Customers generally reward companies that provide top-notch experiences.sixty seven percentof customers who are impressed with a brand consider leaving a review detailing their positive experience or posting it on social media.
Ability to maintain prices:Without a good customer experience, you could be subject to more price fluctuations due to lack of customer loyalty or poor service reputation. If sales are low, lowering prices may be your only option for attracting buyers. A high-quality customer experience adds value to customers and, in turn, helps promote price stability.
Biggest competitive advantage:Brands that offer the best customer experience generate aroundfour to eight percentmore revenue than its competitors. Focusing on delivering memorable customer experiences and cultivating relationships with your customers can set your business apart from the crowd.
Improved employee morale and attitude:When your customers are happy, your employees are more likely to be happy. When you prioritize positive customer journey experiences, your employees are more motivated and your business thrives. Don't you believe us? Companies with engaged employees outperform the competition in147 percent.
The importance of customer relationships (backed by numbers)
Customer relationships are vital for any business: happy customers make repeat purchases and therefore generate more money. In our CX Trends Report, 73% of business leaders said there is a direct link between customer service and business performance. They're right: the same report shows that top-performing companies see customer service as their primary source of revenue.
73% of business leaders say there is a direct link between customer service and business performance.
Need more proof that customer engagement is the way of the future? Look at these stats:
- Companies that earn $1 billion a year will earn an average of$700 millionwithin three years investing in customer experience.
- Delivering high-quality experiences can reduce the cost of serving customers byup to 33 percent.
- The average cost of customers switching to other companies due to poor service is$1.6 trillion.
- HeMain reasoncustomers leave brands because they feel slighted.
- Eighty percentof consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences.
Who is responsible for building and maintaining customer relationships?
Building customer relationships is not a job that falls to one team. Everyone in the company, from customer service to sales, product and marketing, plays a critical role. However, there are specific jobs within the customer relations department that can help with the process.
Who is on your customer relations team?
The customer relations department typically includes three levels:
- Chief Customer Officer (CCO): This person oversees the customer relations team and interactions between the brand and its customers. They develop new strategies for building and maintaining strong customer relationships.
- Customer Relationship Managers: CR managers oversee customer relationship representatives and their daily interactions with customers. Depending on the size of the company and selling style, some CR managers will also handle relationships with key B2B customers. CR managers often work with the CCO to determine which strategies are and are not working for the team.
- Customer Relations Representatives: RC representatives are in the field, communicating directly with customers via phone, live chat or messaging, and via email. They are critical to the success of the business because they hear feedback directly from customers and can pass the information along.
What makes a great customer relations employee?
When building your customer relations team, you need people who can work together to solve many rapidly evolving issues. Here are the top qualities companies should look for in candidates for customer relations roles:
- Strong communicator:
Customer relations employees need to be able to put themselves in customers' shoes and understand their pain points to form a better connection with them. Today's Customer Base70 percentbuy experiences about how they feel treated, so empathy is a crucial trait.
Customer relationship activities vary from day to day. Customers have different personalities, communicate with a variety of issues, and communicate with the company through multiple channels. Your team must be able to take the hits and provide quality customer service, no matter the circumstances.
One of the biggest pain points for customers is getting ambiguous answers to their questions. An effective customer service professional knows how to balance charm with clear, factual answers.
The following traits are essential for customer service personnel, but are also valuable for members of the customer relationship team:
- Positive attitude:
- Calm under pressure:
- active listener:
It's hard to create a positive outcome for your customers without a positive attitude. When a customer is upset or frustrated, your customer relations representative gets a chance to shine. They need to stay focused on solving the problem and finding a solution.
Your customer's problem may not be your fault, but it is your responsibility. Customers appreciate it when a single agent takes ownership of the issue and does everything in his power to reach a resolution, communicating with them along the way.
This characteristic can be difficult to quantify, but it's important for your customer relations team. An angry customer might get emotional or even scream. A customer relations representative should remain calm and collected to de-escalate the situation and work towards a resolution.
A great customer relations officer knows that active listening is crucial. Verbalize that you're listening with phrases like "I understand" or "Of course" and repeat key information back to the customer to ensure they feel heard and understood.
Every day is busy with customer relationships, and reps and managers need to be able to keep up without feeling overwhelmed. When you have 50 people on hold, you need to be able to resolve issues quickly and politely; This is where strong organization and time management skills come in handy.
How to build positive customer relationships: 22 tips and strategies
Building any lasting relationship requires nurturing, something that is especially crucial for customer relationships. Customers don't want to feel like their interactions are transactional. So taking every opportunity to provide a rich, personalized experience can nurture your relationship to grow.
Not every product, service, or company can satisfy every customer need, and that's okay. The key is to identify what your business already offers customers and how you can do more. Follow these tips and strategies to help your business run better,stronger connections with customers.
1. Decreases waiting time
Reducing wait times will improve the customer experience and increase customer satisfaction. Customers love it when they can easily get in touch with a representative who will quickly resolve their issues. Investing in a CRM that offers omnichannel support, self-service options or chatbots can help reduce wait times even further. With 76% of customers willing to pay more for a better experience, the investment pays off.
2. Meet customers on their preferred channels
As more communication options emerge, customers' preferred channels continue to evolve. An omnichannel support experience helps you meet customer expectations by allowing you to connect with them on any channel. Whether it's over the phone, messaging app, email, chat, etc., you can keep the conversation going and improve your customer relationship.
3. Create simple tools for your customers to get to know your product
Depending on your business, your product may require extensive learning or training. No consumer wants to waste time trying to figure out how to use it on their own. By investing in self-service portals that feature convenient training modules or basic how-to videos, your company stands out as a company that values its customers' time and energy.
4. Offer self-service options
Providing 24/7 support with self-service options helps customers find answers to common questions quickly. These options include:
- help centers
- knowledge bases
- FAQ pages
While many customers prefer to call when they have an urgent or complex issue, some may prefer to tackle less complicated issues themselves.
5. Invest in effective customer service software
Invest in software to increase the efficiency of your employees and customers. You may hesitate to buy the latestsales force automation systemorobust CRM software, but you'll get those dollars back in revenue from returning customers. Time is money: By speeding things up for your team and customers, you'll see a return on your investment.
6. Prioritize employee training
A support agent is the first person customers interact with when they have a question or issue with a product or service. When you have highly skilled frontline agents who know how to create a great conversational experience, it can do wonders for customer relationships. Prioritizecustomer service trainingthat helps develop skills such as active listening, communication and problem solving.
7. Collect customer feedback
Customer reviews provide valuable insight into how your customers feel about your brand. You can gather this information through surveys, analytics, social listening, support issue spikes, and more. Analyze this data to help your business make better customer-centric decisions, such as:
- Improve products or services.
- Optimization of processes that affect the customer experience
- Building Better Customer Relationships
Collecting positive and negative customer feedback can reveal where you excel and where you need to improve. Implementing feedback will show customers that you value their opinion and help strengthen relationships.
8. Know who your customers are
Customer context is important for gaining a deep understanding of your customers and improving your interactions with them. Being able to see the entire customer conversation in one place, regardless of the communication channel, gives you the context you need to personalize the interaction, avoid repeat customers, and create a stronger bond.
9. Customize your interactions
Personalized interactions go beyond addressing the customer by name. When you can easily access a customer's personal data, purchase history, preferences and purchasing behaviors, you can tailor the interaction to your individual needs. It makes the customer feel valued – they're not just a faceless voice on the line.
Businesses can provide personalized service with a conversational CRM that collects customer data and captures the entire conversation history, so the next rep can pick up where the previous interaction left off.
10. Show appreciation for your customers
Your brand credibility is only as good as your customer experience. Reward your loyal and returning customers to show your appreciation. Something as simple as a loyalty program, discount, or add-on product goes a long way toward building customer relationships and encouraging referrals.
11. Listen to your customers
asking for feedbackIt's just part of the equation: you also need to actively and visibly implement this feedback into your business, services or products. If you can show customers that their opinions matter, you won't have to convince them to stay.
12. Build trust through transparency
When you take responsibility and acknowledge your mistakes, customers respect your honesty and transparency, which builds trust. Minimizing a problem, denying blame, or shifting blame sends negative signals to the customer, which damages your relationship. Take responsibility for an error immediately and resolve the issue in a timely manner.
13. Be kind and approachable
Every time you interact with customers, do what you can to make each interaction personal. When using automated communication, take the time to personalize the experience and ensure that a human support agent is always accessible to customers. People don't want to buy from robots, they want to buy from people.
14. Measure and improve customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction should be at the top of your priority list. Collect feedback through CSAT and NPS surveys – these will help you measure feedback to know where to improve and provide a better customer experience.
15. Create a customer-centric culture
Culture is the beliefs, values, behaviors and practices of a company. It's what makes your business unique and what connects customers and employees to your brand. FORnon-customer centric cultureputs the customer at the center of the business while focusing on customer and employee satisfaction and success. Creating this kind of culture starts from the top down, so it's important that leadership embraces and champions a customer focus.
16. Prioritize consistency
Customers want consistent messaging and communications, and an optimized conversational experience on their preferred channels can make that happen. Aomnichannel experienceconnect customer interactions across multiple channels (email, live chat, phone, messaging apps, etc.) and present them in a unified view. No matter which agent they speak to next, customers will have a seamless experience.
17. Form emotional connections
Every customer is unique, so forming an emotional bond will differ from customer to customer. Start by establishing trust through transparency and consistently delivering great customer experiences. Personalize each interaction to create deeper conversations and form human connections. All of this can lead to stronger customer relationships and greater customer lifetime value.
18. Create a community
Brand identity can be difficult for many people to understand, but many customers use brands as symbols of group membership. Even something as simple as acommunity forum— where customers share stories, tips and experiences with one another — will keep shoppers engaged with your business, allowing them to connect.
19. Share feedback across teams
It's critical to break down silos when sharing feedback and collaborating across teams. When other departments are informed and can access important information, they can better implement changes to improve the customer and employee experience.
20. Reward your customers
Are you looking for an effective way to increase customer retention? Reward your loyal customers. Everyone loves to be appreciated and offer incentives like discounts, special offers, orloyalty programsThis will motivate customers to keep coming back and making more purchases.
21. Invest in a satisfying workplace for your employees
Happy workers are not only more productive, they also create a cause for their customers to rally around. Some companies prioritize sales above all else: A company known for treating its employees well and providing positive customer experiences is a social draw. Suddenly, consumers aren't just enjoying their products – they can feel good about supporting a company that cares about its employees.
22. Provide educational resources for customers and employees.
Simply selling your product or service to your customer or giving your employee a paycheck should not be the purpose of your business. Build stronger relationships with your customers and employees by empowering them with skills and resources to help them grow and succeed in business and in life. Offer classes, training modules and educational videos that help people learn about your products or services and provide tips on how to thrive in business.
Expecting your team to keep up with each customer and all of their individual needs without any help is a daunting task.
For the best customer relationships, you need the best tools. invest in apowerful CRM, asales tracker, youcontact management softwareso your customer relationship team is unstoppable.
Zendesk offers the features your business needs to make every customer feel valued. Between automated customer communication alerts, extensive sales histories, detailed customer profiles and guided customer support channels, Zendesk software allows you to reinvent the customer experience.Request a demo todayif you are ready to take the next step.