It’s all about relationships

Now that Valentine’s Day has just past, we thought about focusing on the growing importance of healthy relationships between businesses and their customers. Many people would initially think that the traditional one way channel of businesses talking to their customers still holds true, however the traditional business communication landscape has been turned on it’s head by the rise of the internet. The tools that the Internet provides now allow for direct, instant and public communication between consumers and businesses. Today’s marketing environment is about managing a virtual multi-lane highway of instant communication with your customers.

“The fundamentals of brand building, from listening to and learning from customers, to relevantly meeting their needs, have been magnified in a world of digital communications and consumer empowerment.” Allen Adamson – Brand Digital

Customers are no longer passive recipients in the process, they now have the tools to instantly connect instantly and directly even with huge multinational companies. They are empowered as they are able to instantly share their feelings and thoughts publicly, influencing and being influenced by others.

It’s becoming increasingly important to take into account how your customer interacts with and relates to your business and not just how good your core product might be. It’s important that they get to know you, like what you do and trust you. A large percentage of the purchase decision is based on feelings, people don’t just buy products but also the reason you do business in the first place. Customers really want to connect and be part of brands that they like and are in sync with their own personal brands. This doesn’t mean you have to take your customers out on dates to try to get them to like you, but you
 do have to actively manage and invest time into connecting with them. Focusing and building good relationships with your customers will change the way they relate with you, and will provide a huge range of advantages such as:

• Increased brand preference and loyalty.

• Lower price sensitivity.

• Paying more attention to marketing communication

• Retaining more information from marketing communication.

• Lessening vulnerability to competitors actions.

• Resistance to negative experiences.

• Becoming active promoters of your brand.

It is important to have a continuous focus on customer relationships. Effective and consistent marketing builds the relationship between your customers and your brands. Remember that relationships can be both positive and negative. Bad experiences will push potential customers away even if you have the perfect product for them. Relationships evolve through interactions, so active and regular engagement is key. Take advantage of the online social space to talk to your customers, tell them about what makes you so special and provide a space for customers to talk back to you. Let them share both their satisfaction and dissatisfaction; this will allow you to be able to see and respond to problems quickly. With an active focus on the importance of your relationships, hopefully you will be on your way to developing a long-lasting commitment and relationship with your customers.