Will They Stay or Will They Go?: How to Strengthen Your Client Relationship So Customers Will Stay With You For the Long Haul

These four tips can help keep your customers happy and loyal.

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A business is only as good as its customers. But how you interact with your customers after they become customers is perhaps the most important part of the business-client relationship.

Sure, you want your customers to be happy and loyal, but so often we focus on getting a new customer, but don't have any real strategy on the customer services experience once that client is signed. The result: customers leave, and you are left with a lot of time invested without the benefit of the long-term potential revenue.  How can you strengthen your relationship with your customer so it can grow and flourish for a long time into the future? Here are four steps that can help:

1. Watch and listen

If you haven't done this before, you need to have a deep understanding of your customers' needs and goals. Many times, we assume what they want, but we actually don't ask them.

Ask yourself and your customers "Why do they need you?" For example, in my yoga studio, we want to offer certain classes on the schedule. However, if people don't show up for them, the classes won't be successful. So before we offer new ones, we send surveys and engage with our most loyal customers in our private Facebook group to get their feedback on class format offerings, days and times. We then listen to what the customer wants and decide if that is the direction we can go.

We also observe their actual behavior--they may ask for a class and then never show up. We watch and observe to determine the reason why that occurs. You can do the same. This can help you see signs that your client doesn't and develop a strategy to help match your customer's goals.

2. Take a team approach--with an assigned leader.

Managing the customer relationship involves not just you, but everyone in your company. The most effective customer experience spans your entire team. It is what differentiates your company culture from other businesses when each person in your company is involved in some way.

We spend a great deal of time in our yoga studio to ensure that every touch point for a customer is a caring experience. I assign different people on my staff to lead different initiatives and programs in the studio. It becomes that person's job to communicate information back and forth from the customer to my entire team and for them to work together on getting the outcomes they want in each situation.

You can try this in your business, too. This way your customers have the confidence that no matter who they work with in your business, they will have a consistent experience.

3. Make Net Promoter Score your guiding light.

You always need to keep tabs on how your customers view your services. I use Net Promoter Score (NPS). The NPS rates how willing customers would recommend a company's products or services to others.

The score is calculated by how customers answer specific questions and range from minus 100 to 100. The NPS is great because it gives you unfiltered feedback where customers can outline possible flaws in customer service that they might not communicate with you.

It also doesn't take your customers a lot of time to respond, so it's easier to get responses. With the results from the survey in hand, you can make changes in how you and your team approach customer service or future offerings.

4. Make your customer experience exciting. 

If your team is not excited about your services, your customer won't be either. In my studio, I meet with leaders of different programs to brainstorm what is going well, and not so well, at least once a month. We also create new ways to engage customers and get them engaged with the yoga community. When they are a part of the creation of ideas, that enthusiasm carries over to the customer during interactions in person.

When your customers see and hear how energetic you and your team are about your services, they are much more inclined to join you and best of all, recommend you to others.

Providing excellent customer service is perhaps the hardest part of business growth. But by having a customer service experience strategy in place early on, you'll be in a good position to secure customers who are happy, loyal, and complimentary about your services.  A little effort in the right places can make all the difference in whether your clients stay or go.


Originally published on Inc.com on Mar 27, 2018

Amy VetterComment