Building a strong customer base can be tough. Turning those customers into long-term customers who’ll come back time and time again is even tougher.
Small business owners were asked how they create long-term relationships with their customers and this is what they had to say:
“The best way to build long term relationships with your clients is to establish a consistent dialogue that does not always revolve around what you sell. The more you know what’s going on with your client, and help connect them to solutions to the challenges, and needs they face, the more you build trust with them. Clients want relationships with providers who truly care about their overall wellbeing. When you are positively impacting their overall wellbeing you will remain with them and do business with them time and time again.” –Diane Helbig, Seize This Day Coaching
“SnapCap maintains its long-term, return customers by providing a Vanishing Interest Rate to customers who pay back their loans on time. 41% of SnapCap’s eligible customers take a second loan, and 46% of those will take a third loan, 38% a fourth loan and 38% a fifth loan. These statistics speak to the value of credit relationships.” –Hunter Stunzi, SnapCap.com
“Fitpacking has a loyalty program that compounds bonuses. For every excursion a client books with us, they save another $100 on their subsequent trip. So the 2nd trip they save $100, the 3rd trip they save $200 etc. We have found this to be extremely effective in building long term relationships.” –Steve Silberberg, Fitpacking
“I think it goes without saying that first of all you need to produce an amazing product, if they are not happy with that, they’ll likely not come back. For the clients we retain we find offering them discounts according to their location works well. So for instance we offered a 10% discount on a few US clients on July 4th. For more local clients we’ll always send out a Xmas hamper with some champagne and chocolates. It brings a smile to their face, lets them know we are still available for work and make a good conversation starter.” –Paul Manwaring, Design and Marketing Consultant
“My strategy for building long term relationships with my patients in my podiatry practice is fairly straight forward. Give them an experience far greater than they were expecting and better then my competitors offer. Doing more than the person expected gets them taking about the business. Most business owners strive to give people exactly what they expected. The problem with that is no one gets excited when they get what they expected. They do not run out into the street yelling with enthusiasm. They do not refer others when they get what they expected, they expected it. Always exceed expectations and you won’t be able to stop people from having long term relationships with you!” –Dr. Daniel Margolin, New Jersey Foot & Ankle Center and Effective Management
“We never get comfortable with a client and just do an okay job because we know (or assume, incorrectly) that the client will always be coming back for more. Every project is treated like our entire reputation depends on it, because it does. We are in contact with our repeat business clients several times throughout the year to see if they have any upcoming projects they’d like to discuss.” –Chris Bryant, Empire Studios
“We offer a 10 year warranty on our design/build projects. During the course of the project we communicate every week and build a friendship. After the project is over several of us at the company check in with them on a yearly basis. We have 74% repeat clients.” –Betty Brennan, Taylor Studios, Inc.
“One thing I do is write personal thank you notes for my clients’ orders. It is my way of acknowledging the personal nature of our business. They trust my judgement about which colors and styles will look best on them and I want them to know what an honor it is to work with them. We work collaboratively, but I always make sure I am a good steward of the faith and trust they have put in me.” –Annie Kip, J. Hilburn Men’s Clothiers
“To ensure customer retention and to help build long-term relationships, we had to find ways in which we could differ from our competitors, in order to be a more valuable proposition. In that respect, we decided to offer our live chat, email and telephone support free of charge. That way our customers feel secure and that any issue can be quickly resolved. We also like to send the occasional freebie. We offer our most loyal customers the opportunity to leave reviews and in exchange send them something in the post. This shows that we appreciate their continued custom.” -Matt Warren, Veeqo
“Customers want answers and with the evolution of mobile phones and other means, they are working longer hours and not just 9 to 5. We take great pride on being there to answer their questions even after hours. Customers have our mobile phones and are encouraged to contact us after hours if needed. I find they don’t abuse the privilege and really appreciate knowing they can always get in touch with us.” –Bob Bentz, Advanced Telecom Services
“Everyone is familiar with the saying, what have you done for me lately? We use a CRM system to send personalized and relevant emails each week reminding out customers what we have done for them. These emails are never sales pitches. The emails always include helpful information that can be used to make their job easier. In addition, we encourage our clients to share this info with their friends.” –Victor Clarke, Clarke, Inc.
“The most effective way I’ve found to maintain long-term customers in my field is to have pre-agreed key performance indicators and to schedule quarterly meetings to review the account performance. This shows that I value them as a customer and gives me chance to be proactive in recommending ways to improve the account. Showing customers that you’re ahead of the pack like this completely disarms the threat of competitors poaching your business.” –Seb Dean, The Imaginaire Online Ltd
These are just a few of our favorite insights. To see all insights, check out the original post on blog.mycorporation.com.