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Oct
16

How to Create a Stronger Relationship with Your Customers

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The benefits of forging strong customer relationships are clear: When done right, this approach improves customer retention, creates a competitive advantage for your company, and builds unparalleled brand loyalty. Plus, it’s a cost-effective way to land new customer referrals.

Now, you’ve likely heard the stats on poor customer service — and they’re not pretty. So why should your company invest in creating an exceptional overall customer experience? Simple answer: Your customers have a big voice, and money talks. In fact, 95 percent of all consumers have taken action as a result of a poor customer experience. And, of those same individuals, 85 percent wanted to warn others about doing business with a particular company.

Many experts find it difficult to show a connection between improving the customer experience and growing revenue. But market research company Forrester Research has demonstrated how investing more in customers drives revenue growth through increased loyalty. Indeed, the payoff of cultivating strong customer relationships cannot be overstated. Here are a few ideas to help your company get started.

Make Customer Service a Top Priority

Do you have an unwavering urge to resolve customer service issues quickly and effectively? How well do you provide online customer support? Providing excellent customer service is not only a common business principle that has withstood the test of time — it’s also the best way to boost customer relationships and stand out from the competition.

Like anything in life, consumers make future business decisions based on first impressions, so going the extra mile from the outset must be a priority. Moreover, customers’ expectations must be met and exceeded as often as possible. Airbnb founder Brian Chesky knows this firsthand. His company, valued at $30 billion, focuses on providing seven-star customer service.

Now, if a five-star customer experience means enjoying a stay at a Los Angeles bungalow with a slew of amenities — and without any issues or confusion — then a seven-star experience means all that, plus a limo waiting for you at the airport, along with your favorite chips and coconut water inside.

This dedication to providing a top-notch customer experience will very likely lead to increased customer retention, positive word of mouth and more referrals. Because businesses rely on this type of free marketing from their customers, you should strive to receive positive feedback each time an employee interacts with a customer via phone, email or in-person.

Provide Peace of Mind Through Security

Recently, we’ve seen Equifax, Target and Home Depot all fall victim to hacking, with these attacks exposing millions of customers’ personal and financial information to would-be criminals. While these multi-million dollar companies can weather such a breach, small businesses and work-from-home professionals do not have such a luxury.

But these solo or small ventures still very much remain a target. In fact, hackers have breached half of the 28 million small businesses throughout the United States, according to the 2016 State of SMB Cybersecurity Report. So how can you protect yourself and your customers? Here are a few starting points.

  • Passwords/authentication – Make sure you create strong and unique passwords for all programs and devices. Use a password manager tool like LastPass or Dashlance so you don’t have to worry about memorizing long-tail passwords that contain a slew of letters, numbers and/or symbols.
  • Firewalls – Set up a firewall to protect your computer or laptop from any form of unauthorized access. Software is available for single devices, or hardware can be installed to protect a network of devices.
  • Wi-Fi connections – If you’re working from home, make sure you’ve set up a password for your Wi-Fi connection. Likewise, if you work remotely, make sure to connect to a virtual private network, or VPN, when using a public Wi-Fi network.
  • File backup and encryption – Finally, make sure all your data is backed up on the cloud, as this measure will protect you from data corruption or a damaged or lost computer. For example, Mozy not only offers encrypted backup services, but your customers can also take advantage of its reseller program, a potentially great business opportunity for you and your customers. Best of all? Through this partnership, your company is bound to create stronger customer relationships.

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