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Supporting your business through long-term relationships

Tips & Advice - February 24, 2015

Customers are a company’s most precious asset, regardless of industry. The success of sales, in particular, relies heavily on strong customer relationships, and with fierce competition retaining consumer support can be difficult. Studies report that 89 percent of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service, and clients are four times more likely to turn to a competitor over service-related issues, as opposed to product or pricing problems.

Businesses must take a proactive approach to customer acquisition by building strong, meaningful, long-term relationships. Here are a two ways to develop productive connections with clients:

Engagement

Entrepreneur reports that many customers are willing to spend money to guarantee high-quality customer support, suggesting that experience is just as important as the service or product being sold. A simple way to help relationships blossom is to sincerely engage with clients. Generic platitudes and cookie-cutter responses signal to consumers that a business does not care. Support should be tailored to a customer, and address their needs specifically.

That doesn’t mean that responses can not be automated. For example, customers of HubSpot’s Sidekick receive automatic emails a week after account creation — but the messages are customized to reflect a user’s last interaction with the product. If a person hasn’t used the application as much as expected, the email might offer tips on how to use top features.

Understanding Your Company’s Value

Part of cultivating a long-term relationship with a customer is understanding what value they see in your company. If a client has chosen you over the competition because of the availability of a particular service  — for example, having the option of interacting with sales representatives on the field, through the use of field sales software — make note of it. These are the services you need to emphasize and maintain because they will keep your customers coming back.

Being a useful resource will increase customer loyalty and they will come to see you as dependable and invaluable. Don’t hesitate to reach out and share information about updates or new services that may benefit them.

Real-time Feedback

Big data has helped business a lot. It pays to have information and to be able to analyze it to detect patterns. At the same time over-dependency on data can be detrimental, because it stops business from actually communicating with clients. Survey responses are undoubtedly helpful, but it’s important to listen to what your customers are saying to you when you do business with them.

The best way to understand how customers are engaging with your business and the services it provides is by listening to them. For example, Computer World talks about a file-sharing company called Box that used predictive analysis to judge success. They found that the system was not working efficiently, and decided to use real-time feedback to find out hat customers wanted. They learned that consumers wanted usage-based pricing. Without sincerely listening to what clients were saying Box would never have been able to make that product adjustment.

Prioritize

Logic dictates that businesses should pay equal amounts of attention to all customers, but this can cause problems when certain customers are encountering problems or need extra help. When managing multiple accounts it is important to know which clients need your immediate attention, so that you can allocate time and resources accurately and efficiently. Sales representatives should be able to evaluate and report on customers who may require follow-up support.

It pays to use sales management software, particularly in field sales, that allows representatives to quickly relay important information back to the team, specifically about customers who would benefit from further information.


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