Building long term relationships with customers is essential for the growth and success of any business. Offering personalized services helps in client retention and loyalty. The quality of customer service interactions must be consistent throughout the customer lifecycle in order to build trust and develop a strong relationship with customers.
Many repeat customers prefer dealing with the same service representative every time they purchase a product. Talking to the same representative would mean he/she is familiar and understands a particular customer’s needs. It can be time-consuming and exhausting for customers to explain all the details right from the start to a representative about what they need every time they make a purchase.
Building Relationships Helps in Understanding Consumer Behavior & Influencing Purchasing Decisions
Assigning the same relationship manager to customers’ for every transaction fosters a culture of customer loyalty. Customers feel more comfortable sharing information with a representative that they know and can trust. This enables the company to better understand consumer buying behavior and needs. If a representative is directly in contact with the customer, it facilitates interaction on a regular basis, which would enable the company to promote its products and services and collect invaluable feedback from the customers. Direct interaction would enable unbiased collection of feedback since a personal relationship fosters trust and honesty. Additionally, representatives can also keep the management in the loop regarding the needs and wants of customers considering the ever-changing market dynamics. Representatives can suggest the right products and services to customers since they understand their needs.
Personal Touch: Value Added Customer Service Experience
With the advent of technology and self-service facilities, business transactions are losing the personal touch, which is highly valued by some customers. CSR-Customer relationship provides a unique opportunity for businesses to bring back the element of personal touch. Customers can benefit from personalized advice and recommendation in terms of what products to purchase, in addition to technical assistance in case of highly technical products and services. The interaction with representatives adds to the overall customer experience delivered.
Word-of-mouth has emerged as one of the most important marketing strategies. A survey conducted by Nielson revealed that 84% of consumers trust recommendations from family and friends about products, while 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product if they learn about it from friends or family. This illustrates the importance of word-of-mouth, and the impact it could have on the success of a product or service. Businesses which build personalized relationships with customers, are in a more powerful position to convince customers to recommend the product and services to their acquaintances.
How to Build Better Customer Relationships
Developing strong relationships with customers can be a challenging task for businesses. Winning customers’ trust and creating a comfortable environment for customers is a long process, which requires the right temperament, both, from the management and the employees. Some of the important considerations are as follow:
Relationship building should be part of the overall corporate strategy. Management needs to develop an action plan to stimulate a culture of friendly and personalized service. This also requires decentralization of power and empowerment of the frontline staff.
CSR’s should be empowered to make decisions, which will enable them to please the customers by offering solutions. The management should also formally train CSRs to help them develop skills necessary for effective customer interaction and relationship building. Company sponsored workshops, customer service training activities could be organized for CSRs which will not only enhance their skills, but will also motivate them to work harder.
The management also needs to make all customers’ records accessible to assigned CSRs. This would enable the CSR to analyze the purchasing habits of customers and determine their unique needs and wants.
Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a system that manages the relationship between customers and the company. It facilitates a company’s interactions with all its customers through various communication mediums. CRM allows the company to manage and analyze customer interactions and data, which helps a company to deliver high quality customer service. The system deploys technology to process and organize large amounts of data. All the information related to customers including sales, marketing, customer service and technical support are synced on the system. This ensures effortless sharing and provision of access to CSRs for their respective customers.
Cloud based customer relationship management systems are gaining popularity that are capable of delivering a real-time 360-degree view of the company’s customers.
Courteous and Friendly Service Representatives
One of the most important aspects of developing a relationship with customers involves having the right temperament and personality for the job. Customer service representatives need to be courteous and friendly in their dealing with customers. Their attitude will determine whether or not customers will trust them enough to rely on them for their future needs.