Relationships are fragile, and can be hard to maintain. Lots of care needs to be put in to make any relationship work, whether it’s platonic, romantic, or professional. With the wrong attitude, a relationship can turn from sweet to sour, and unlike a sour patch candy, they won’t go back to sweet as easily. You can attract and get as much attention as you want with your beautiful product or niche service, but there’s more to the process than just selling what you have. Getting that sale you needed is great, but then it’s a question of how to get your client to stay and use or buy your other products. So, how do you keep a client satisfied and happy with what you have?
Think of these relationships like plants in a carefully curated greenhouse; every plant is unique and requires varying levels of care if you want them to blossom and grow. With enough time, you will have a greenhouse of strong connections for you and your clients. Here are some tools and strategies you can use to get your garden started:
Offering an Exceptional Service or Product
As mentioned before, relationships are a greenhouse, and the most important part of the process is building the foundation for your garden. The first step in building this foundation with the client, is presenting a strong product; think of this as you’re making your own soil. Envisioning your product is the easy part, but having it functional in person solidifies the credibility of what you’re presenting to your client. Providing a less than average item or service is like using cheap dirt for your greenhouse; it can easily wilt your plants and poison that relationship. The first thing is to be able to bring credibility and consistency with a top-notch presentation to that first meeting. Think of this like a fine topsoil for your garden, a good first impression has the potential to spark that growth you’re looking for. This is the first step in curating and building your beautiful professional greenhouse.
Staying ConnectedThe next step is often times the hardest step for companies: consistent, high-quality customer service. Like waiting for your sprouts to grow into beautiful plants, this is often the most time consuming part of maintaining a relationship and also the most time-consuming. Luckily there are tons of ways to make this process so much easier for you and your clients!
Let’s start with the internet; the internet, especially social media, has created a virtual bridge for both businesses and their clients. Using social media, you can be active in providing new information and updates on upcoming products. Retweeting posts from your customers and sharing content through various social media platforms are great ways to engage with clients. Think of this as monitoring your plants as they begin to grow; by giving them the proper sunlight and watering them consistently, your plants will begin to sprout and blossom. This is the exact kind of relationship that you want to have between you, the business, and your client, giving your customers a direct line to reach you when problems begin to occur with your product.
Maintaining a Positive Public View
Again, building a relationship is not a quick process, it’s time consuming and requires a lot of work (as we already established). Losing that relationship is sadly much faster and easier to accomplish. Because clients can now reach a customer much quicker and easier than before due to social media, immediate responses and customer service have become the norm in most industries. If you take too long in assisting your clients, they will have a negative customer experience. Long wait times are unavoidable, and so are negative reviews. Media can be your enemy, considering people are more hesitant to try a product if there are numerous negative experiences. If your garden is being poorly maintained, and you haven’t been actively fixing the problem, your sprouts will begin to wither before they bloom.
However, the phrase “all publicity is good publicity” exists for a reason. Regardless if it’s good or bad, there’s always the possibility of improving your public view by spinning negative news. If your company has a large following, it’s inevitable that for every good review there’s expected to be a handful of bad ones. If you can handle the bad ones in the best possible way, despite how much publicity it may have gotten, then you can change it for the better. A perfect example of this is when a company or celebrity makes a problematic statement on social media. The account who has made the statement can be presented with many options. Some may choose to engage with their followers by making a secondary statement that takes accountability for their actions. However, this may or may not always land the way it’s intended, due to an inadequate care for their followers values and needs; the ones that do tend to land are usually written thoughtfully, and provide some kind of incentive to the parties that were wronged.
Going back to our greenhouse and gardening metaphor, this could be equated to damage control in the case of a mistake made by the gardener. You can try to undo the issue you’ve created by quickly reacting on a snap decision, which may not necessarily work, and could potentially harm your plants more! A good response to an emergency like this is to think critically, and research what the best option is for the problem you’re encountering. Another option is letting the issue solve itself. You don’t have to reply to every interaction online. That’s why there’s forums where simple and even complex issues can be dealt with by a professional or others that have found solutions before.
Introduce Customer Rewards
Other than providing amazing customer service, another way to get clients interested in your products is providing them with a reachable goal. Companies can create special offers and deals for customers who do things the company want. By showing clients they are valued and appreciated by offering special rewards, they’re given an incentive to continue using whatever services you provide. Pancheros provides reward points for every dollar that you spend on their food. When you get 100 points, you get a free burrito. It’s a highly effective and popular tactic that most companies use that gives incentives for their customers to buy more often. Think of this as getting special containers and equipment for your greenhouse. Your plants are given more encouragement to grow stronger by providing them with the facilities to do so.
Make The Experience Personal
Personalizing the customer experience is also a great way to build a strong relationship with your clients. A great example is Spotify, a music and podcast streaming service. Spotify personalizes the user experience by creating playlists for you based on your song history, and preferences on the tab labeled as “Made For You”. Here you can find custom playlists like “Your Time Capsule” that has songs that you haven’t listened to in a while or “Tastebreakers” that gives you song and artist recommendations based on who your current listening. Think of this as buying decorations for your greenhouse. You personalize the experience by adding a unique touch that enriches the entirety of the collective.
Last, but not least, you should always thank your customers for using the services you provide. You shouldn’t be generic with your thanks, ignore the templates and normal responses to avoid sounding inauthentic with your appreciation, a thanks should always appear genuine and nuanced. Think of this as the continued care for after your plants have matured; just because your plants are grown, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue caring for them. You also shouldn’t flood your platforms with all appreciation posts; it waters down your content, and loses it’s sincerity.
Now that we’ve built our relationship garden, it’s important to remember to maintain it with constant and consistent care. Like we stated before, relationships are not only fragile, but they need effort and thoughtfulness to maintain. Customer service is the most important part of any company in regards to retaining these relationships. We hope you use the strategies and tools we’ve provided you with to build strong and healthy customer relationships.