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Customer First: 4 Ways to Establish Real Relationships with Consumers

When a business researches ways to grow brand build loyalty, one concept consistently comes up: “Build real relationships with your customers.”

That sounds easy on paper. However, it can be difficult to establish an authentic relationship with your consumers, especially when all of your competition is trying to do the same thing.

Fortunately, there are a few easy steps you can take to bring your consumer relationships to the next level.

1. Personal Interaction

Many companies focus on ways to use technology for consumer connection. And while we’ll touch on some of those ideas, there’s no substitute for face-to-face communication.

This is why brick-and-mortar stores always have staff on the floor – to strike up a conversation with the consumers. It’s not merely an opportunity to sell a product: it’s an opportunity to learn about your consumers while also making a first impression as a company that cares.

Make sure you are very careful when you hire your staff. The best employees will remember the details of their conversations with customers. For instance, if the employee knows that a customer’s daughter enjoys dance class, they can bring it up when they see the customer again. The ultimate idea is to highlight you as a company that cares about consumers.

2. Show Them “Behind the Scenes”

Businesses sometimes overthink the idea of establishing real relationships with consumers. Think of how you would establish a relationship with another person. What’s at the top of the list? Getting to know them!

Earlier, we talked about personal interaction as a way you can get to know your customers. But it’s equally important that they get to know you and what you do.

In addition to personal conversations, use your company website and social media to show “behind the scenes” videos highlighting things like how your products are made, who your employees are, and so on. Make sure that your company values and mission are prominently featured, both in the store and online.

Once customers feel like they share your values and understand your process, they will feel more like partners than consumers. And this has a tremendous effect on loyalty.

3. Follow Up on Feedback

So far, we’ve focused on what to do when you are interacting with the customer. But it’s also important to take certain follow-up actions after the transaction is completed!

First, create a space, online or offline, where customers can leave feedback. Don’t overwhelm them, but make sure you solicit feedback about both the product(s) and their experience. You can then look at your collective feedback from month to month and try to improve things.

The improvements will help draw in new customers, and ideally, your returning customers will appreciate that you took their advice to heart.

Finally, be sure to monitor what customers are saying about you on social media. This is another way of getting feedback, and it gives you more opportunities for improvement.

4. Create An Online Community

More and more of your consumers will be Millennials; this generation is very intensely involved with social media. To establish a relationship with such consumers, you’ll need to try to create an online community.

And we say “community” because it’s not enough to simply create a basic page on Facebook. You need to alternate between offering relevant content (such as coupons, deals, and “how-to” videos) and things like contests and discussion topics.

The idea is relatively simple. You want to get customers excited about interacting with you and like-minded consumers via social media. Make sure you or one of your staff responds quickly to any online messages you are sent. This makes the customers feel valued and highlights that you care about their needs.

Final Thoughts

Whether it’s with a loved one or with a consumer, the bottom line is that relationships are never easy. However, building real relationships is always worth it.

Using these tips will help you build better and more authentic consumer relationships. And one by one, your loyal customers will grow your brand.

Tracy Collins Ortlieb is an award-winning journalist and copywriter. Ortlieb specializes in parenting and family, travel and hospitality, and legal topics for such outlets as Parents, SheKnows, and Avvo. She lives in Chicago with her husband and daughters.