In the current marketplace, the idea of creating a business that is unique and innovative might be a bit of a unicorn. We used to define companies by the strength of their product. But nowadays that’s often not the case. It’s getting easier to launch a business. It’s also getting easier to copy a product and rebrand it enough to count. So in a marketplace with little barrier to entry or guarantee of uniqueness, how do we stand out? The answer is customer relationships.
Having loyal customers who trust your product and your people is invaluable. Being the ‘trusted brand’ in a particular space can be the thing that makes you the industry leader. So how do we generate that kind of trust and loyalty?
How many brands out there claim to be listening to their customers? How many of them are actually doing so? It’s one thing to send out a feedback email after a sale with a smiling face and a sad face to click. It’s another to actually have real conversations with your customers and get a handle on their real issues and needs. Brands who listen to what their customers say end up with loyal customers who keep coming back.
Knowing your customer is one step, but do they know you? If your business has a structure that seems aloof and distant, it’s not a great look. If your information is not public and transparent, people will be suspicious. Foster trust by being open and public with all your deals and changes. Going through a rough patch and can’t fill orders fast enough? Send out an email addressing it and give it a personal touch. Let people follow you through your good and bad and they’ll feel invested.
Customers appreciate companies that make life easy for them. Don’t make your customers jump through endless hoops to get what they need. Try to streamline your acquisition and sales funnels as much as possible. Don’t make them go through three different channels to return a product. If you have a weak link in your service, then focus on fixing it. You might have the best product but if your deliveries are always late or mismanaged, you’ll get that reputation.
When you treat your customers like family or friends, they’ll treat you that way in return. In that way, you’ll build relationships rather than contacts.