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4 Ways to Connect With Your Customers & Build Lasting Relationships

Research published in the "Journal of Consumer Behavior" found four tools that work when employing relationship marketing. This form of marketing relies on customer connections that emphasize the relationship and not the sale. Of course, these interactions need to result in revenue for the marketing campaign to be successful, but these relationship marketing tools follow the assumption that loyal and content customers will yield sales as a byproduct of their happiness.

A Smile and a Solution

Good customer service is the hallmark of a successful relationship marketing campaign and needs to be your company’s foundation. At a human resource and policy level, customer service practices should be written. Address what is expected of employees when it comes to being friendly and helpful. Make sure your employees know their parameters for assisting a client and understand when to bump the customer up to the next administrative level. If you are the sole owner of the company, then write down guidelines for yourself. Good customer support quickly becomes the topic of conversation and in this age of social media, that could quickly translate into sales conversations.

A Big Thanks

Never forget about the emotions of your customer. Successful relationship marketing elicits positive emotions naturally. One way of doing this: Send the traditional gift basket with a note attached. Make sure the letter is personal, not generic. Like any relationship, the recipient needs to feel special. Create a loyalty program around the gift basket and other perks. Your customers want to see the benefit of being true to your company.

Create a Safe Home

You do not need to be a marketing guru to know that a good social media platform is important to your marketing campaign. What you may not know is why it is so important. Social media pages and forums create safe space for customers and companies to interact. This communication should not be advertorial—instead, make it natural and fun. This increases brand trust, and trust is directly connected to converting relationships to sales. Use social networks to reflect the soul and compassion of your business. This is where you get to let your hair down, so to speak, and have some laughs.

Make It Personal

You would never refer to your child as "recipient," so don't do it with your customers. Relationship marketing means creating a deep, personal relationship with your client. This requires a shift from product-oriented thinking to thinking that's focused on knowledge and skills. Be a resource for your customer; you no longer need to sell him something. Instead, you are creating the best possible solutions for the problems in his life. Hopefully, those solutions include the sale of your product. If you ever feel that you need to hide the fact that you want to make a sale, then you have not built a solid-enough relationship.

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