Whenever there is a discussion about customers, it mostly centers on attracting and acquiring them. Seldom do people or businesses talk about managing current customer relationships.
However, it turns out that retaining current clientele is far more profitable than attracting new ones!
How to Manage Customer Relationships?
As per Outbound Engine, acquiring a new client is five times more costly than retaining a current one. And boosting customer retention by merely 5 percent can help improve company profits by a whopping 25-95%
This is why you must manage your customer relationships effectively. Here are the best practices to adopt in doing so.
Respect your client’s time
As per Professor Nass, the co-author of the book “The Man Who Lied to His Laptop: What Machines Teach Us About Human Relationships,” people tend to remember negative experiences more vividly than positive ones.
This is why the chances are that you remember all too well about the restaurants that made you wait for too long before serving food. Would you like to go back to the place? Probably not!
Waiting time isn’t just detrimental for the hospitality industry. Instead, people, in general, don’t like waiting too long. This includes in retail outlets, when on the call with the customer support, or when visiting a company for a meeting.
Regardless of what sector you operate in, respect the time of your clients.
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For instance, don’t just ask customers to drop by for a meeting as per their convenience. This is because there is always a chance that you won’t be prepared for a spontaneous meeting. To avoid making your customers wait for too long, it is best to schedule appointments in advance so that the relevant people within the organization are not overbooked.
Here, automated appointment scheduling tools can come in handy. These tools allow users to develop a booking page that allows customers to book meetings with their team.
Have presence across various customer touchpoints
There was once a time when it was quite easy to pinpoint what channels brands could use to target customers. However, ever since the rise of technology, potential interactions between a brand and a client have increased significantly.
According to Marketing Week, 15 years ago, a customer would at most use two touchpoints to interact with a brand. However, now consumers tend to use over six touch-points.
What are these touchpoints?
A given customer can be exposed to a brand message through traditional (TV, radio, or print ad) and digital (search engine, social media, or company website) media along with brick and mortar and online stores.
The best way to provide efficient customer support is to have an omnichannel strategy. This means that brands must deliver a consistent brand experience across all channels. This allows customers to easily switch channels and still be provided with the same quality of service.
Let’s take the example of Oasis – a women’s clothing brand. The brand engages and supports its customers throughout its touchpoints by offering a consistent experience along a consumer buying journey.
When the brand discovered that its social media platforms were one of its most popular touch-point, it developed a dedicated gallery for user-generated Instagram content. This allowed the business to convert its customers into its models!
Take inspiration from this example and identify the preferred touchpoints of your business. Create a personalized strategy for providing support through the identified medium.
Use a quality CRM
There was once a time when businesses were of the view that customer service software was only for the bigshot companies. However, now times have surely changed.
According to CRM Magazine. Ninety-one percent of firms with more than ten employees have CRM software in place. This software industry itself is poised to reach a staggering revenue of $80 billion by 2025!
Why is CRM software so popular? Well, this is because customer service software have now become a necessity for remaining competitive in today’s fast-paced world. CRM solutions allow organizations to automate their processes, boost team coordination, standardize data storage, and improve customer relationships.
For instance, Amazon’s CRM system harnesses consumer data gathered during purchase to customize consumer experience. Therefore, by tracking your previous purchases, Amazon’s CRM makes sure that the next time a consumer visits Amazon, they are recommended products they are likely to buy!
Another worthy CRM software is being used by Tesco that rewards its loyal customers via Clubcard. It uses customer purchase data to assign points to users, who can then trade their vouchers for different rewards.
Leverage AI via chatbot integration
45 seconds. According to Comm100, an average customer will only wait for 45 seconds for a response from a live chat. And a query not catered to is a potential customer you lost to your competitor.
One of the key ways to manage your customer relationships is by leaving them satisfied with a quick response. This is where AI comes in. Gone are the good old days where customer representatives had to bear the sole responsibility of addressing consumer queries.
Now, automated chatbots make use of AI to answer frequently asked questions. This helps in boosting the response time of a live chat as well as improving engagement with customers.
Sephora is one brand that has leveraged this technology to the fullest. Going beyond live chat support, Sephora has used chatbot service for the creation of Sephora Color Match and Sephora Reservation Assistant.
The former helps users in scheduling appointments with beauty specialists, while the latter makes use of augmented reality to help users in selecting shades of cosmetics in line with their outfits.
See how you can adopt chatbots to improve the consumer experience. The best way to do so is by identifying the key processes and interactions with a consumer that can be streamlined via AI.
Identify client needs before they realize it
There is a common misconception among marketers that there was no inherent need for smartphones. Instead, it was generated by Apple. This is not true! A need cannot be created. It is an innate feeling.
While there might not have been a verbally expressed need for smartphones, the pain points of connectivity were always there. This is why the technology took off when it was introduced! What Apple did succeed in doing is addressing a pain point before consumers realized it. And that has made it a market leader in the sector.
This same perspective is required when managing customer relationships. Here too, businesses must strive to identify the needs and challenges of their consumers and try their best to address them in advance.
Do so by conducting thorough market research. Try to put yourself in your client’s shoes and think of all the challenges that may arise. While you are at it, make use of customer surveys to better understand your clients.
See how you can address their pain points and improve the credibility and trustworthiness of your brand.
Don’t stop engaging
Have you heard of the term “Top of Mind”? This is what all marketers strive to achieve. It refers to a business’s ability to remain within the top choices of a consumer within an industry. For instance, when you think of fizzy drinks, you automatically think of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. This is an illustration of the top-of-the-mind effect!
To reduce customer churning and boost retention, you must engage with your customers even post-purchase. A simple thank-you email after a purchase can go a long way.
Similarly, sending consumers newsletters or potential products they would like based on their previous purchase is also a great way to engage with consumers.
Here are a few engagement strategies worth trying:
- Ask for reviews about items purchased. This helps in gathering customer data that can be further used to alter the consumer engagement strategy.
- Cross-sell products via emails by notifying about new discounts and product recommendations.
- Promote your customer loyalty program by offering reward points post-purchase.
- Seek referrals to convert your loyal customers into advocates of your business.
The key to engaging with consumers post-purchase is to make them feel valued and offer value-based solutions to them. Give as much attention to this stage to avoid after-purchase dissonance.
Your customer base is by far the most valuable asset of your company. You can implement the best marketing strategy and the most impeccable products, but if you fail to effectively manage your customer interactions, all of your efforts will go down the drain.
Whether it be understanding consumer needs, addressing their concerns, or promptly replying to them, there are a lot of facets to managing customer relationships.
Use each of these six practices to get started. Beyond it, all, have a customer-centric approach to all your decisions, and you will automatically be able to satisfy your consumers.