Relationship marketing, simply put, is the strategy of building strong, lasting relationships with your client base, thus building loyal and committed customers. Often in striving to gain media visibility and recognition, businesses temporarily forget or overlook their most important marketing resource, your business relationship with people! Below are a few handy tips to help you
Relationship marketing, simply put, is the strategy of building strong, lasting relationships with your client base, thus building loyal and committed customers. Often in striving to gain media visibility and recognition, businesses temporarily forget or overlook their most important marketing resource, your business relationship with people!
Below are a few handy tips to help you reassess your relationships with your customers, and to start to develop a plan for building on and improving your client relationships.
It is difficult to target and streamline communication and build relationships if you don’t start out knowing where you stand with your customers. You probably have files on your customers, but do these files include the tracking of correspondence? If not, this is an aspect that should be added to your customer files.
Another idea is to develop a file of success stories . . . are there customers with whom you have a strong relationship, who are loyal and devoted clients? If so, assess the history of your relationship with these clients to determine if you did something different to gain their loyalty and trust. You may even want to start a file of success stories to refer to for suggestions and inspiration, which may be helpful during times when creativity about how to expand customer relationships may be waning.
Develop a Communication Plan
Communication is the first step in building strong relationships with your customers. First, assess what your communication strategy is, and if you do not currently have a strategy for ongoing contact with your clients, it is time to develop one! Whether it is a weekly, monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly correspondence with your clients, it is important to decide upon a plan of action and to implement this plan.
If you already have a communication plan in place, and are tracking your customer communication, now is the time to review and assess the effectiveness of your plan.
- Do your customers seem engaged and interested in your communication with them?
- Is your customer base steady, or do you seem to be losing customers?
- Have you had any repeated complaints from multiple customers?
- How can you better serve your customers?
- Is there an easy and reliable way for customers to reach you if they have a complaint, concern, or would like to make a suggestion?
This may all sound overwhelming at first, but these are just a few areas to get you started thinking about how to facilitate more communication with your customers. You are probably already doing some of these things. If there are several of these suggestions that you are not doing, yet you feel compelled to implement, don’t panic! Just take one suggestion at a time and move forward that way. Relationships with clients are built over time, and anything you do now to start the process is a step in the right direction towards building a lasting client base. Once you start to understand and embrace the importance of customer relationships in a strategic marketing plan, you will be heading in a direction for success.
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