As a means to achieving optimum growth, a business organization can create a strategic alliance with its clientele, simply by transforming its customers into business advocates. Many recent studies have proved a fundamental link between satisfied customers and higher business success. This is because, while satisfied customers are naturally inclined to maintain healthy long-term relationships with businesses, they are also documented to develop a higher tendency to promote the business among their acquaintances through positive statements.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Bill Gates
The entire process of gauging customer satisfaction, and improving and leveraging it is a daunting one for businesses and may seem too tedious to accomplish. However, the benefits offered by leveraged customers are countless and businesses simply cannot afford to overlook them. Therefore, when setting out to leverage customer satisfaction, the first most-important step is to ask the customer certain well-directed questions:
- “What is it about our business that appeals to you?” or
- “Would you recommend us to others? Why?”
The answers to such questions, which should generally be either positive or negative, help businesses identify their own strengths and weaknesses. This way, the business ensures that its customers actively participate in its overall wellbeing, and contribute towards its success. Leveraging customer relationships usually involves the following important considerations:
Being open to complements as well as criticism – Regardless of the nature of a business or the industry it operates in, the feedback and opinion of customers is crucial to their long-term success. Customers can provide businesses with first-hand knowledge of the inherent defects in a product service, allowing timely revisions. Therefore, businesses need to actively engage themselves in listening to what the customer has to say to them.
Encourage conversations – Quite understandably, customers would barely be expected to take out time to visit the business with complaints and feedback. It is therefore the duty of the business to pursue customers and engage them in conversations so that their valuable input can be acquired. This also helps them build healthy long-term relationships for the future.
Reciprocate – When leveraging customer relationships, it is as important to reciprocate the goodwill of customers. Hence, businesses can reward their customers with incentives, gifts and monetary benefits as a sign of appreciation for how much they are valued by customers. Moreover, gifts can also work to retain the interest of unhappy clients in the business, even though for a short time.
Maintain contact – When a channel of healthy communication has been established with a customer, essential contact details may be requested of them to ensure that the business has the chance to get back to them with positive outcomes and makeovers. The one thing that a customer appreciates most about a business is that they listen to them and act!
See Opportunity – In this age of industrialization where business growth is restricted by competitive market pricing and widespread product distribution, customers can become the most valuable strategic advantage for businesses. Establishing positive customer relationships can become one of the hallmarks of a business in the market, which in turn helps the business attract more customers.