Connecting with Customers: 7 Ways to Start Long-lasting Relationships

Communication with the customer means more than just publishing your offer on a website and responding to possible complaints. Start building a long-lasting, positive relationship with your audience, even before they decide to make a purchase. There are many ways to improve contact with the customer. Establishing lasting, positive relationships with your clients will result in increased sales and encourage prospective customers to use your services.

1. Planning your communication style

Conducting marketing activities and improving communication at random, without any credible feedback from digital customers and information about their expectations, may consume a significant part of the company's budget, but still not significantly affect the effectiveness of communication. Many companies don't sufficiently appreciate or understand the impact of well-planned communication with the customer on business success, so they settle for low-quality, impersonal marketing materials. Yet the tone of your posts and how you'll write back to your customers is extremely relevant to the effectiveness of your marketing communication.

Planning your brand communication strategy is extremely important. Would you like to convince a potential investor or business customer to use your services in the same way as you persuade your friend to go to the cinema? Without developing a tactic for communicating with customers, you really don't know what, how, and to whom you want to convey. To create a communication strategy for your brand, analyze your target groups and the competitors' approach. You also need to understand well the nature of the industry in which you operate, and then choose the appropriate ways to achieve the business goals (by selecting customer communication channels, marketing tools and the style of expression). It's best to do this before launching any marketing activities.

It's also worth making sure that during the communication process the recipient doesn't even for a moment have the impression that there's a robot on the other side. After all, there are specific people behind marketing activities such as running social media, creating a newsletter, and writing a blog. Of course, you may both use customer service specialists and choose the solutions based on artificial intelligence (e.g. chatbots). However, think about how you want your customer to see your brand – as an anonymous group or as a team of real specialists?

2. Efficient communication of information

The Internet is the first place many of us look for information on various topics. There are fewer and fewer companies on the market that don't have websites. Even if you run a local restaurant or store, and customers come directly to those places, it's a good idea to create an online showcase, so that new customers can find out about you. A properly designed web page may interest and attract customers who wouldn't normally visit your premises because they've been buying elsewhere or weren't interested in purchasing this type of products and services at all until now.

But what does having a properly designed web page mean? There are several good practices we should follow, regardless of the industry in which we operate or the size of our business. First of all, before you sit down with your website design specialists, think about what goals you want the website to help you achieve. Should it be just a showcase with the company's address data, constitute your portfolio, or maybe sell your products? It isn’t good practice to add random elements to your corporate website design. Avoid lengthy sentences when creating content. Keep it simple and eliminate complicated, industry-specific wording wherever possible. Not every customer understands the specialized language, and yet your services may also be of interest to people who don't operate in your industry on a daily basis.

When designing a company web page, it's worth considering the personalization of content. Thanks to it, the content and messages appearing on the web page for a specific user will be tailored to their interests or their previous activity on the website. They may see the information "Welcome back" or an invitation to return to the shopping cart they've abandoned during the last visit. You should also take care of the responsiveness of your site, that is, adjust the design so that the page works well and looks aesthetically pleasing on various devices (computers and mobile).

Enabling the transition to other communication channels (e.g., via a social media icon, subscription to the newsletter, etc.) will allow you to maintain the continuity of communication. Many people prefer to use social media which allows getting in touch quickly.

If you want to improve the possibilities to connect with customers via the web page, it's worth creating a live chat or a high-quality chatbot that'll answer customers' questions or direct them to the appropriate sources.

3. Engaging the customers in social media

Some marketing agencies that conduct comprehensive advertising campaigns have separate departments that deal only with running the profiles on social media. In some industries in the B2B sector, running a company account on Facebook isn't that popular yet, but this doesn't mean that ignoring the potential of social media is wise. The purpose of this type of platform is to bridge the distance – not only in physical terms – between the customer and the employee.

Creating and publishing posts on social media can be a time-consuming process, so you may want to invest in the right software that'll make your work easier (the marketer should also familiarize themselves with the marketing automation tools available on the market). You'll quickly realize that they have a lot of interesting and useful functionalities that'll help you to manage running a campaign in various communication channels.

In addition to regularly posting the content relevant to the life of your company, you should also remember to connect with your users directly. Quick, sometimes even funny replies to the comments under company posts and to those concerning your company (e.g. on Facebook groups when someone mentions your brand), as well as to customer inquiries sent to your company profile mailbox on Facebook (or on another portal) are practically essential if you want to build a good, long-term relationship with your audience.

When you're answering a customer's question, it's a good idea to introduce yourself. Thanks to this, your interlocutor will be sure that they're dealing with a specific person, not an unnamed representative of the company or a chatbot. When you run profiles on social media, from time to time you may write something about your specialists or introduce new employees (add their photos and write a few words about them).

4. Responding to the current interests of users

Are you wondering why the users delete your newsletter without even looking or don't visit your blog? It's likely that they've become discouraged at one time or that the articles and emails don’t contain the information that is important to them. A newsletter has a very high marketing potential, but it's extremely easy to irritate customers with too frequent messages which only carry advertisements and empty slogans.

A blog can also generate a lot of traffic and attract prospective customers. By analyzing the user queries on Google, you can quickly and easily prepare a list of topics to be developed. If you take care to discuss the topics that really interest your potential customers, you'll get a chance to present your offer to a wide audience.

The content you refer to in your mailing or articles should be largely based on actual customer problems that the company has solved or can solve with its products and services. This way, you'll attract the people who may actually be interested in your offer to your page.

There are three things you need to do to run effective email marketing:

  • carefully prepared strategy,
  • proper tools,
  • good contact base.

Before using this method of promotion to improve the relationships with customers and increase sales, make sure you know how to build a mailing list for your brand. Take the proper amount of time to design your data collection template in order to gather the high-quality information you need. Also, don't forget to obtain the necessary marketing consents.

When carrying out email marketing communication, also take care of the right tone of speech. Don't write in an overly advertising style. Choose the information that'll be of value to the customer (e.g. about an upcoming training course, or company's presence at trade fairs) and focus on communicating it in the form of a simple, understandable message.

5. Collecting feedback from customers to develop your company

Customers, especially the loyal ones, want to have influence on shaping your company. When they buy your products and services they feel like they're part of a certain community. Monitoring tools are one of the ways to find out about your customer’s needs. Brand monitoring provides a lot of useful information and allows you to make improvements in the company's operation. You can also ask the customers directly for their opinion about your brand.

You can increase the sense of customer involvement in the company's development with a number of tools. Ask them questions in posts and comments on social media. Create surveys and encourage users to participate in the market research organized by your company. Don't forget that you can also ask your customers for their opinion during face-to-face meetings at your company's branch or at trade fairs. Analyze the viewpoints of your interlocutors and reflect on their ideas. You can use the collected information to create products and services tailored to the consumers’ needs. Therefore, your gain is twofold: you receive the data to improve your offer, and you boost the relationship with customers.

6. Ensuring the highest quality of customer service

Low standards of customer service are probably one of the most pressing problems of the modern market. Customer satisfaction is key to building customer loyalty. If a customer reports a problem with customer service or on any other matter, don't dismiss them with a laconic "this problem has been solved", "we'll make sure that this doesn't happen in the future." If you've ever received such a response, you know how frustrating it can be. Try to provide the most accurate information. Your customers expect it and will feel that you care about their satisfaction. If their report triggers some changes in your company and you let them know about it, they'll know that they have an impact on how your business operates.

Not all problems need to be solved by the employees. While the service provided by actual people is important, you need to consider that most users prefer to perform simple tasks on their own (and quickly). In many cases a prompt and trouble-free solution to the problem will be more important to the customer than waiting on the line and talking to a consultant. Consider creating a highly personalized chatbot or live chat led by a designated employee, thanks to which customers will be able to quickly solve their problems, without the need to contact a customer service representative.

Careful training provided to all employees who have contact with the customer will also allow achieving good results. Focus on teaching social skills, peaceful conflict resolution, etc. Definitely minimize the need to use ready-made conversation scripts. The process of responding to a customer's inquiry shouldn't be unnecessarily complicated. Respond to the messages from the customer quickly and don't waste their time.

7. Showing the customers the human face of the company

The customer usually feels better knowing that their matters are handled by specific people. It's up to you to decide whether you want the client to receive responses from specific employees or e-mails and messages sent on behalf of the entire company. It's worth considering building a relationship between the customer and actual professional employees. Present your team on a dedicated subpage on the company website, don't hesitate to show the faces of employees on social media, and involve them in creating promotional spots and speaking to the users.

It's often your company's employees who create the articles, news and other materials that are posted on your web page. The lack of names under the blog posts gives the impression that they were obtained from external sources (from a copywriter or an agency), which usually results in shuttering the customer's belief in their specialist nature. Provide the names of the authors of publications, add their photo next to the article and write a few words about them on your blog. In the case of mailing, make sure to add the name of the message's author or the contact person. If you invite people to the fairs you organize, you may provide the email address of a specialist from the event department, or regularly sign the messages with the name of the employee handling the newsletter.

Also, don't forget that the company consists of people, and people make mistakes. Obviously, it's a good idea to avoid making them, but if this happens, don't be afraid to admit it to the customer, apologize and try to compensate them for delays or losses. The ability to solve a problem in a mature way proves your professionalism and allows you to present the human face of your company.

Connecting with customers – summary

As you can see, maintaining high-quality communication with current and prospective customers isn't easy. It requires a careful analysis of the market in which you operate, the goals and nature of your business, and the customer expectations. We've listed many ways to connect with your audience. In order to efficiently implement new marketing activities and improve the current ones, you need the right tools. We can assist you in developing your business by maintaining and developing your website. Find out more about our Drupal support team.

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