Question: What one thing do you believe is most important for creating long-lasting relationships with your customers?
Question by: Nicole
Show Your Appreciation
"If you want to create long-lasting relationships with your customers, show them that you appreciate their business. Stay in touch, ask them for their feedback and how they think you can improve. Let them have some input. Show them that you value their business by your commitment to do constantly wanting to do better. "
Exceed Their Expectations
"Go above and beyond expectations to ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction. Combine top-quality service/products with hands-on and attentive customer service. This level of service will build a rapport with your customers, which in turn should create customer loyalty and long-lasting relationships."
Get Personal for Good Business
"I don't believe in separating business relationships from personal relationships. When my team works with a client, we really try to get to know the team well. Go out to drinks, connect on Facebook, form real personal bonds. It's nice to work with people whom you like both professionally and personally, and it helps in creating long-term bonds."
Listen to Your Customers
"The more you listen to your customers and demonstrate that you truly value their opinion, the more they'll support you and your company's mission. Consistently communicate that you value your customers' feedback and you appreciate their voice. Let them know their voice is always being heard."
Break the Rules
"I find that being willing to break my own rules is important in maintaining relationships with customers. Delivering value is vital, of course, but that's the default exchange. When something goes wrong, or when you can deliver a lot of extra value by breaking your own rules, the customer appreciates that, and it shows you're there for them on multiple levels (and don't see them as a number)."
Do Great Work
"100 percent of our business comes from word of mouth. This type of marketing is absolutely priceless and it shows that doing good work, being on time, and delivering above expectations speaks for itself. Your clients will never forget, and will never hesitate to sing your praises to others."
"Stay In Touch. Even when your customers are not buying, you need to stay in touch with them so you are top of mind. I suggest touching base once a month by phone, letter or email. I love finishing my conversations by asking, "Is there any way I may of service?""
Treat Customers Like Family
"You would never lie to your family, nor would you ever take advantage of them. Treat your customers like you would a parent or sibling or child. Look out for them, even when they do not know there is an available discount. Make sure what they buy is only top quality, and be there to listen to all of their needs."
Don't Outsource Customer Service
"There's almost nothing worse than dealing with inept customer service representatives who aren't capable, or empowered enough, to solve problems. Take a page from Zappos' book and make customer service a core competency within your organization. Your customers will love you for it, and you'll create long-lasting relationships in the process."
Admit When You're Wrong
"In order to create long-lasting relationships with your customers, the principles of traditional human relationships still apply -- even in business, which means admitting when you are wrong, and even saying sorry! The customer is always right, and even if you feel you are right, sometimes a good old "I'm sorry" goes a long way for creating a solid, long-term relationship with your customer."
Customers Should Become Partners in Production
"Don't just look at your customers as dollar bills. By purchasing your product, customers have shown that they believe in your business, and they can be the best source of research and development. Form a team of customers to give you feedback on how to improve your products and offerings. Continue to involve them and they will want to see your brand grow and share in its success."
Hook Your Customers Up!
"You should respond to customers the same way you respond to a friend -- not just in tone, but in content. Pull strings. Do favors. Give extra attention and care. Give each and every customer the special "hook up" that you would give to a friend."
Know Your Clients' Brands
"With any client relationship, it is important to understand where their brand is now, and where they want it to go. It is then your job to create a plan or a product that will help them reach their goals. Understanding the brand makes you a resource for life."
Hold the Big Vision for Them
"When it comes to working with clients and customers, it's easy to focus on where they're at in life or business now. When you can see the direction they're headed and how amazing it's going to be for them, you hold space for it to happen and it gives them the energy and motivation to go for it. You have their back and they know it!"
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.