The importance of consistency in building strong customer relationships can’t be overemphasized. Customers want to have confidence that we’ll deliver on our promises every time.
Companies like McDonald’s and Starbucks weren’t always big guys. They started out small and grew. And their growth was laid on a foundation of consistency in their market, in terms of the quality of their products and the service they delivered.
When consumers choose them over an unknown competitor they usually do so because their brand has a reputation for consistency in the products they sell and the service they provide.
Those of us running any size of successful business know first-hand that building customer loyalty isn’t an overnight effort. It’s an ongoing and consistent strategy and practice that can make the difference between success and failure. And consistency plays a critical role.
Here are five ways to develop consistency and build strong customer relationships:
1. Create opportunities where salespeople and customer service staff can meet to share problems and possible solutions to customer service related issues. This can help break down silos between departments and build staff relationships and ownership, all which impact customer service.
2. Conduct an online survey and invite customer feedback on their experience with your business. Although the number or percentage of those completing the survey may seem small, they will often be either your biggest fans or your biggest critics. The input from both groups can be invaluable.
3. Ensure your marketing materials make promises you can and will keep. Ask your staff to provide input and suggest revisions for consideration. Don’t promise what you aren’t able to deliver! In the end, it will hurt your business not help it.
4. Set up automated responses to incoming client emails to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. Provide customers with a reasonable time frame for expecting a response from you, and then make sure they have a response well ahead of when they’re expecting it, or at least no later.
5. Monitor your online networks and your online reputation. Watch and listen to what people are saying about you online to catch praise and dissatisfaction and to buoy or repair your reputation. Responding graciously to those dissatisfied with your service is as important as responding graciously to happy customers.
There are many factors that impact how consumers feel about our business. Consistency and truth in what we do and say, whether in advertising or face-to-face with consumers, will make it easier for them to trust us, buy from us and even to refer their friends and others to us.
About the Author
Sue Cockburn is the owner of Growing Social Biz. Growing Social Biz help small businesses increase their impact, expand their market share and improve their bottom-line through social media and internet marketing.