Has your business experienced a loss in recurring customers?? In this article I will be highlighting a very important fact that your business needs to focus on in order to increase your sales?, the number of recurring customers, and your customer base.
Imagine a situation where two new fashion stores were introduced to your area and you decide to go visit the stores?. When you walk into the first one and purchase your clothes?, there is absolutely no contact made with you at all. But when you go to the second store, you are warmly greeted by the friendly and helpful staff, and once you are done paying, they get your contact details (with your concern of course!) and at the end of the month you receive a message with the details of their latest stock. You are surprised to see that they even remember your name!
Which fashion store would you return to? Which fashion store would you recommend to your friend?
I am pretty sure the majority of you would choose the second store✌ since you felt valued and belonged.
What is Relationship Marketing?
Again, taking the scenario of the two fashion stores into consideration, the majority of you would visit the second store✌️. But why?
It’s because you felt a sense of belonging. You weren’t forgotten by the shop even after a few weeks of you visiting the store. And that made you feel valued.
It is the relationship? that the store built with you that made you feel belonged.
What does building relationships with you (as the customer) mean to the business?
It is Relationship Marketing and it is a strategy adapted to foster loyalty, interaction and long-term engagement with customers. It aims at developing strong connections with customers by providing them information directly suited to their needs and interests and by promoting open communication?. It is important that your facilitating your clients with an open communication and cooperation culture.
But how exactly can your business do this?
Say, for example, Stephanie makes purchases through your social media pages and also visits the physical store regularly. But think what will happen if Stephanie is greeted well and provided with a good service at the store while when she inquires through social media she is treated like a new customer who is a complete stranger! Customer relationships do NOT work this way!
Your need to share your customer information among all the different customer touch points??. It can be the information?they provide when they signup on your online platform, when they inquire on social media or on your website itself, or when they walk into your store. All these information needs to be interconnected and mapped with each and every client.
For instance, presume you own a cafe?☕️: you have the physical store?, you are active on social media?and your take orders and customers could also make orders through your website ???. Your customer touch points would be the POS system (at the physical store), Facebook Messenger and Instagram Direct Message (on social media) and your website where you collect customer details when an order is placed?. All these touch points should share the information among themselves to provide a smooth and satisfying service to your clients.
A win-win situation
With Relationship Marketing, customers and businesses benefit alike. Customers are highly satisfied with the relationships that you build with them because their issues are taken into consideration and solved quickly and smoothly. Your customers experience a fulfillment in their demands. Studies say that positive influencing of human emotion is the key to any happy?, healthy and long-term relationship?, and therefore it is important that you understand the emotions of your customers.
How does your business benefit from this?
Obviously when your customers are satisfied with your business they would regularly purchase and become loyal customers. Say for example, you walk into a supermarket and make a complaint. Would you be satisfied if they just snap at you and ignore your words? No, you wouldn’t! You would definitely have a bad impression about the supermarket’s customer service.
Keeping your customers satisfied is important because they would even drive in new customers to your business and highly recommend your store to anyone?. Wouldn’t you share a good experience with your friends and family? In the same manner, your clients are sure to share information and experience with other people regarding your business and these people would later become potential clients of your business. There will also be good reviews on social media and your website. People read these reviews, they do!
Use both negative and positive feedback by your customer to change your product or service.Therefore, make sure that your client has a positive and good experience at any given time.
A good example would be the story of a famous brand that has been practicing Relationship Marketing for years. Coca-Cola sells fizzy sugar water and has been successful for more than a century. How is a product as Coca-Cola which has relatively been very similar since it’s inception build a strong brand that gets people excited? Coca-Cola invests heavily in Relationship Marketing and has been doing it for years even before the theory of Relationship Marketing existed. Marketing campaigns of Coca-Cola rotate around attaching the brand, to products and services valued by customers, touching their hearts and finding a place for the brand at the core of who they are, for instance, the Coca-Cola’s “Hello Happiness” phone booths.Coca-Cola’s relationship with its customers is one that depends on the belief of self-expansion, thus, Coca-Cola, for many, is not just a brand of soda, it is a friend and a part of who they are.
Relationship Marketing is better than Generating Leads
Most businesses follow the “new customer only” approach, but, occasionally this theory can be wasteful compared to retaining customers as it may cost more to gain new customers than to retain or build up the existing ones. According to studies, loyal customers are reported to have higher retention rates, commit a higher share of their category spending to the firm, and are likely to recommend others to the business (word of mouth is a powerful tool?).
Generating leads is important for your business as it increases your revenue? and aids your business in growing its market share in the industry. However, keeping your current customers happy? is as important as generating leads. Especially for small to medium scale businesses, it is important to keep your clients happy?, a few bad reviews regarding your business would make a majority of clients to rethink?? whether or not to use your product. Bad reviews☹️would even make generating leads challenging. Therefore, it is important that you create a culture where you build long-term relationships with your clients and retain them by providing them with the best services before and after the sale?.