You may have heard that “relationships” are important when you’re trying to grow your business.
But what does that actually mean?
The relationship a business owner has with its customers is often the defining characteristic of that small business. More than advertising, outreach, and promotion, you know that word-of-mouth recommendations come from these relationships and are the biggest source of new business.
Here are the three important factors that allow you to create successful relationships with customers and why they’re important:
When you let your personality into your business, it separates you from the competition and allows people the opportunity to connect with you.
Everything from the set-up of your store to your Facebook Page is going to reflect that.
That’s what compels people to return to small businesses in the first place. People like to do business with those they know, like, and trust.
Sure, convenience and prices are factors in their purchasing decision, but keep in mind that a great experience is also a deciding factor.
In fact, a 2011 Accenture Survey found that service experience and brand awareness (your company’s personality!) are the top factors for customers making a purchase, not price.
So, ask yourself:
- How do I show the personality of my business across all points of contact? (I.e. in store, on my website, in my emails, etc.)
- How can I use my personality to create a memorable—or Wow!—experience for my customers?
2. WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT CUSTOMERS
You know your customers in a way that big businesses don’t. If someone tweets you, you may know who they are. If they call the store, you probably know their name.
Your customers will remember their interactions with you, whether it was virtually or face-to-face. If it was a good interaction, they’ll tell friends about it and they’ll keep coming back.
You can take that relationship to the next level by asking:
- How can I give my customers recommendations that suit their individual needs?
- What kinds of discounts and deals can I offer that I know my customers will like?
- How do I market my business to the customers I already know, so I can keep them coming back and get their connections with similar interests coming to my store?
A lot of your customers are coming to you because they genuinely like your business, and the more times they come back, the more likely they are to become your most loyal fans.
You’re in charge of making sure that your business flourishes and having long-lasting relationships can be the most important part of that growth.
Small businesses know that repeat customers and loyalty are the best parts of having relationships in the first place. You get to know your customers and they become personally invested in your business.
So, ask yourself:
- How do I make sure that my relationships with customers last?
- What do I do to reward customers who keep coming back?
- How can I continue to build those relationships?
LOOKING INTO 2013 AND BEYOND
You may not be one of the big guys, but that’s a good thing. When it comes to relationships, they’re your biggest advantage.
As you look forward to 2013, think about how you can better enhance your relationships with customers, whether they’re in your store or posting on your Facebook Page.
Explore different ways that you can connect with people and showcase the personality of your business, both online and off.
Don’t know where to start? Try telling your organization’s story.