Great customer relationships can impact your business greatly. Just as negative customer relationships can seriously hurt your future sales and the volume of leads coming through, positive customer relationships can also have a big impact (this time for good).
Yes, maintaining excellent customer service and creating (and keeping) great customer relationships is of course, an ongoing effort and time commitment. (If you missed our guide on how to do just that, check it out: how to improve your customer relationships).
Our philosophy at Quotec is to work like business partners with our clients. Remember that from a financial point of view that this effort is one you can see real revenue benefit from. That is, if you leverage your positive customer relationships in the right ways.
What are the ‘right ways’ to leverage your customer relationships, you ask?
In this article, we’ll cover 4 key ways that you can leverage your customer relationships, and use them to orchestrate better business success.
Whether you’re an individual trader, small, medium or large shed retail business, these tips can help improve your business’s bottom line in the long run.
#1 — Ask for (positive) reviews
Customers are 63% more likely to trust businesses with online reviews than those without reviews. But of course, having a low average star rating can negatively impact your business.
This is one of the most important reasons to ensure your customer service is on point and you’re strengthening your customer relationships.
If you get a few bad reviews, don’t panic. You’ll want to review and improve your customer experience overall, and probably reach out to the low-scoring customer/s directly (offline) to find a better resolution (and perhaps get the review taken down on their end). But you can also get the average star rating back up to a score that’s much more in your favour, by actively asking for reviews from those customers that you know have had a positive experience.
Here are some tips for improving your customer reviews:
- Whenever customers give you good feedback, thank them, and ask them to leave a positive review.
- Follow up any verbal review requests with an email, with an easily clickable link, to make it easier for the customer to do what you want.
- Following the completion of a customer’s shed, unless they’re unhappy, send them an email that asks them to leave a review — and mention (in a positive way) how important it is for your business / how much it means to you to receive great reviews.
- The email should link through to the review platform (your Google My Business / Maps listing is the most prominent, so most important).
- Consider incentivising reviews — eg: leave us a review for the chance to win a gift card..Add a prompt to leave a review on the end of any customer feedback surveys that you send out.
#2 — Get testimonials and case studies from happy customers
Similar to reviews, testimonials and case studies can create a lot of trust for your prospects, as they can see that others ‘just like them’ have experienced great things with you. Real-world examples give them an idea of what they can expect in dealing with you. In marketing, this is called ‘social proof’.
If you receive a great email or another method of written feedback from a customer, ask them if they’re happy for you to use it in a testimonial (removing their full name or identifying features if they prefer).
If you get great feedback verbally, ask if they would be happy to write up a testimonial (or leave a review online). To get the most benefit from each testimonial or case study, you can publish these on your website, and in any printed material. All you need to do is ask the customer if they’d be okay with this, and/or remove anything that would reveal their identity or any other information they may not want published.
If you have an extra special shed design that you’ve created, or know you’ve completely ‘nailed it’, take photos of the work (with permission) , get the details (removing anything that’s able to tell the internet where the customer lives, of course, for privacy and security reasons), and ask the customer for a few words to add a testimonial. This is all you need to publish a fantastic case study on your website.
#3 — Consider running a ‘refer a friend’ program
Many of your happy customers may know someone that is in the market for a shed, or who has been considering one for a while.
A refer a friend program gives customers the little push that they need (and the reminder) to do so.
It could be as simple as including a reminder to refer a friend if they ‘enjoyed their experience and know someone who also would like’ what you offer. But it’s most effective when it’s incentivised (like most things in life).
Some energy companies offer a $50 gift card for both parties when a friend is referred, using the customer number or email to confirm they are a customer.You could do the same — offering a gift, an upgrade, or whatever you think will have an impact (and that you can afford).
#4 — Remind them you exist and seek follow up work
Sheds are often one-off purchases, but keeping an eye out for opportunities will more likely than not give you follow-up work that you might not otherwise have thought of.
For example, if a customer mentions in passing that their shed is part of an overall home renovation project, you could include a subtle follow up as you wrap up the shed project by letting them know that ‘by the way, we also do carports if you are looking at that as part of your renovation’. If they mention that they want something else at a specific point in time (eg ‘in 6 months’), note it in your diary so you can ‘check in’ with them then.
There is also the potential for follow-up work from referrals. Perhaps for your customer’s business, colleague, friend or family member may be in the market for a shed.
It’s a good idea to remind your past customers that you exist, for these reasons.
Whether that’s with a refer a friend offer, an end of year ‘thanks for buying a shed this year — we hope you’re still loving it’ email, or anything else that won’t spam them with obvious unwanted emails, but which could also act as a subtle reminder of the great experience they had with you.
There are of course, many other ways that you could utilise your existing customer relationships and leverage these to create more sales and more revenue down the track. We hope that these four methods to leveraging your customer relationships were helpful, and got the ball rolling on some other ideas for you.