Core benefits of customer relations | Sunday Observer

Core benefits of customer relations

6 September, 2020

Customer relations is an important paradigm in business that promotes customer satisfaction and loyalty. The process fundamentally involves managing communication, resolving issues and complaints amicably, and building lasting relationships with clients.

Relationships are important for repeat buying, references, and recommendations from customers which provide essential assistance in the long run to a business entity. Most companies dedicate and focus on relationship management to build a strong reputation in the market as a customer-oriented business entity.

The actual and most important purpose of customer relationship management is to strengthen customer loyalty.

A customer may be satisfied with the service provided by the company without being loyal. Therefore, the organisation must distinguish loyalty from satisfaction clearly. Loyalty brings the customer again to the company without buying from the competitor.

An important factor is that it is always easier to keep existing customers than finding new ones. Besides, it is easier to cross-sell and increase revenue when the company has a loyal customer base.

The cost of attracting a new customer can also be several folds higher than bringing back existing patrons.  Repeat customers are more likely to recommend the company to others and the effectiveness in such an act is tremendous.  

In the prevailing modern trade scenario, companies use various strategies to build strong relationships. While the most vital action in building a relationship is the first interaction with a customer whether it is physical or digital, companies concentrate on providing training to the frontline staff for this purpose. In any business situation, from the time of the doorman’s greeting, until the customer leaves the premises, the entire staff that meets him must be comprehensively aware of the importance of relationship building.    

However, there are other important tools available for an organisation to engage customers. Using feedback forms, training of staff on handling disputes or other issues, responding to customers directly, and developing and encouraging a service culture are some of them.  The creation of customer loyalty points, which are widely practiced by many large organisations in Sri Lanka is an effective tactic.

This practice can be introduced to any organisation irrespective of size. Offering discounts and free-product coupons, competitions, and extended warranties are some other forms of strategies by established companies with significant impact.

Experts have recently found that a customer abandons a product or a company due to poor customer relations. Therefore, proper attention must be paid to enhance service to build a lasting connection. In a competitive market, a strong personal relationship can be the difference between the successes of the organisation and the competitors. If your competitor provides a better and friendlier service, the customers, most likely, will leave and take their money to your competitor. Hence, in this fiercely competitive market, companies must take the departure of even a single customer seriously.  If you neglect this move, customers will switch ships. 

A sound relationship gives an assurance of a customer’s return and repeat sales due to the loyalty created. A happy customer will come back for more purchases whereas an unhappy customer will seek assistance from elsewhere for his needs. Good rapport with incoming customers can help the organisation by way of new connections.

More connections in the pipeline will make it easier to communicate about your products or services. More connections and relationships can also help increase word of mouth communication by clients who keep on recommending your products to others. This is a very successful model of effective advertising.

However, on the other hand, one must realise that usually, people are also good at spreading bad news if they are unhappy about a product. This can be serious and lead to market rejection if not handled with caution. A single person can cause grave damage to the reputation of a product or a company through bad and negative comments. This is the reason for many marketing organisations to carry out customer satisfaction surveys to ascertain the level of customer’s actual response. The information from these surveys can be immensely helpful to raise the level of service.    

A good relationship and the trust established can increase sales not only from repetition but also from cross-sales.

A customer coming to purchase a specific product may be encouraged to purchase a different item with the loyalty created through the relationship.

When your staff is consistent in maintaining a honest and friendly attitude while selling a product or delivering a service, the customer is certain to come again. In an aggressively competitive and unpredictable market such as in Sri Lanka, providing the best possible service will result in a secure customer base.  It also will strengthen the brand of the organisation.

Companies must take the maximum effort to exceed the service expectations as the relationships are one of the most important factors in the success of an organisation engaged in any business. Customers always look for proactive service that creates a good impression of the organisation.

Real-time assistance, by way of personal involvement or online live chat, is a key factor in providing a good experience to the customer.   The company can obtain feedback information to understand the customer’s needs better and provides an opportunity to deliver a great service experience through this. 

Everybody, by their own experience, knows that customer happiness and satisfaction are important to an organisation. 

Therefore, interacting with the customer on a personal level is immensely important  to establish a trustworthy inter-connection. Personalisation can increase loyalty which provides a high conversion rate.

Nevertheless, personal involvement with a customer must be done cautiously as the personalities differ. The staff must be trained to match their tone with the customer’s personality.

The factor to understand is that some customers prefer long conversations while others like briefings. Recognising customer preferences to understand their needs is essential. 

Integration of customer service etiquette is vital for an organisation to extend an exceptional service.

The staff must be trained adequately to interact with customers. They must be convinced to genuinely engage customers by always using positive words or phrases, active listening, to offer gratitude and show empathy. 

Today, companies use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) management tools to optimise revenue and profits and enhance customer satisfaction.

CRM software enables companies to streamline customer communication. By using these software programs, companies can easily segment clients in a better way for augmented revenue, retention, and faster communication.

Making the customer feel special can be a huge impact on a company’s name. Hence, going the extra mile to deliver and exceed customer expectations is imperative. To improve the brand, the organisation has to offer reasons to customers to emotionally connect.