Why building good customer relationships can be good for your marketing

The simplest rule of thumb when it comes to understanding your customers is a happy customer equals a returning customer.

And yes, while the most important thing when it comes to keeping a customer happy is the level of service you provide, in the modern day customers are increasingly wanting or even expecting more.

They want you to be available when they need you; they want you to answer your calls when they call you; and, they probably even expect you to have a social media presence so they have an informal and quick way of communicating with you, connecting with your other customers, and keeping up to date with news and promotions.

Encouraging your customers to market your service for you

Your customers should be one of your biggest assets, in that if they are happy with the service they get from you they're more likely to recommend you to friends, family or business associates.

This generates referral traffic and is essentially a free method of advertising. Many businesses actively promote and encourage referral schemes, offering current customers who refer someone to you a financial reward or discount of some sort.

But ultimately you must be able to deliver on the customer experience side of things, too, because customer satisfaction will determine whether: a) your customers come back to you; and b) whether they will recommend you.

This puts a large emphasis on customer service and being able to get the basics right, because failing to do so can have a severely detrimental effect on your reputation.

What you should consider

Time to respond

The time you take to respond to customers, whether it be the time it takes you to answer a call, the time it takes to reply to an email, or even the time it takes you to return a customer's call after they've left you a voicemail, is one of the most basic things you must get right.

The business world today is fast-paced and instantaneous, and the least customers expect of you is to be able to respond to their calls or queries promptly. While it may seem minor, it demonstrates you care and that's what customers want to know so it goes a long way to building a positive business-customer relationship.

Way in which you respond

On top of responding to your customers in a timely manner, your customers will also expect you to handle their queries in a professional and accommodating manner which is befitting for the image you want your business to present.

Building rapport with customers and easily being able to identify customers' needs will ensure the customer is satisfied that they are being dealt with properly and that they're dealing with a reputable company with strong values when it comes to providing customer service – ultimately increasing the chances of them buying from you again and recommending you.

Being able to fulfil the customer's needs

A large part of being able to fulfill customers' needs comes down to being organised and prepared. One simple and effective way of doing could be to simply manage your diary, so you have concrete reminders in place to remind you of a task – it could be something small such as remembering you scheduled a call-back to a customer or something more 'important', such as a meeting you might have arranged.

It's also wise to carefully think about what you can deliver on, before you go making any claims. For example, don't boast on your website that every call will be answered at the first time of ringing if you can't because as a rule when it comes to customer service, it's always better to over-deliver on your customers' expectations as opposed to under-delivering.

If you go the extra mile for your customers it's of course excellent and will, in all likelihood, go some way to setting you apart from your competitors, however, if you fail to get the basics right it's ultimately going to be a waste of time.