As humans, we are called into community. It enriches our lives and serves to support us in our respective and collective journeys. In striving towards our goals and creating a life we can truly be proud of, having a supportive and reliable community of people alongside you — those who will truly go the distance time and time again — make the ride that much more compelling and fulfilling.
So just how does one plant the seeds of hope that inspire this kind of reality?
Well, by seeking, building and nurturing relationships with others. Meaningful and fruitful relationships. And fortunately, there are opportunities aplenty within the business sphere to give rise to such relationships.
The Importance of Working Relationships
All relationships have something to offer. Personal relationships often have the ability to explore greater depths than a working and/or professional relationship, but that’s not to say that relationships formed in or because of business aren’t vital to the health of the company or those working in it. This speaks to their inherently unique value.
As an entrepreneur, relationships are the lifeblood of your business. Investing as much time in your relationships as you do your craft or product yields promising results both in the present and the future. When done carefully, they create loyal bonds that stand the test of time and can give way to powerful results in the future.
And while quality does not always translate to depth, it can inspire it. This rings true for the business owner/customer relationship.
Why Customer Relationships Matter
There are numerous things to consider in entrepreneurship. Successful entrepreneurship, that is. Surely, product innovation, building a social media presence and developing your brand all have merit and deserve attention.
But arguably nothing is more crucial for a business owner than investing time in building relationships with their customers. Customers seek to feel heard, valued and appreciated. Over time, this creates loyal bonds. Not only do they supply your business with its revenue, they form the entire basis of what makes your company what it is.
Customers desire an authentic experience and thoughtful exchange when interacting with you. Making every effort to uphold this standard proves massively beneficial in the long run. If you have employees, making sure they, too, stress this level of communication and connection is vital to your company’s success.
Without customers, a company ceases to exist. Ultimately, it’s not just about winning your customers, but keeping them.
Ideas for Building Long-Standing Customer Relationships
- Communicate: For business owners, communication is the lifeline between you and your customers. Communicating effectively and clearly requires listening well and asking engaging questions when appropriate. This allows you to identify a customer’s needs and present a solution to the problem, or provide them with a helpful or enjoyable service and experience.
- Exceed expectations: Always going above and beyond for your customers means keeping your word and always delivering. When customers are impressed, they will more than likely return and continue giving you their business.
- Express your gratitude: Generally, this doesn’t require grandiose effort. But simple efforts such as writing a thank-you note or email, or implementing a loyalty program (if it makes sense for your business) goes a long way in making your customers feel appreciated.
- Connect: Similar to expressing gratitude, connecting with your customers in a meaningful way is extremely beneficial. These days, that can take the form of asking and answering questions on social media, or leveraging the power of technology with your business model and engaging your audience. It’s a two-way conversation. Care for it as such.
- Seek feedback: One of the most optimal ways to improve your business is by asking your clientele what they would change or would like to see. With consistent communication, you give customers a space to express their feelings about their experience. Send out surveys, provide comment cards, or proactively ask for feedback, and always be sure to address concerns in a prompt manner. This gauges customer satisfaction and creates avenues for improvement.
Healthy Relationships = Healthy Business
Quality relationships enhance our mental, physical and emotional health and increase our longevity. This applies to customer relationships as much as any other relationship in our life. As an entrepreneur, this should be the focal point of your business. Strong relationships create strong results for everyone.
This article was written by our very own Megan Carter. Learn more about Megan here.