If you have a small business, your likelihood of selling to a current customer is higher than getting a new client. Getting new clients on board is also more expensive than sustaining existing clients. That is why every business needs a reliable client base.
A reliable client base is how a business owner gets a business up and running. They first attract customers and then work to maintain the current consumer base. You may have realized this in your own business. If you have a significant percentage of repeat customers, there’s something you are doing right.
Say you run a small tree care service company. If your former client calls you again, they were impressed with the service in the first instance. But how do you keep this relationship going? This article will look at how a business owner gets a business up and running by forging strong customer relationships.
What is a Client Base?
So, what is a client base? A client base is your business’s primary source of sales and profits. Who’s buying your product? If you are a chimney cleaner or have a small electrical company, who are the homeowners you are currently serving? Those are your customer base.
Your client base regularly engages with and buys your products and services. They have recently bought your products and are aware of your brand. However, there are different types or examples of customer bases.
New Customers: this subset of the client base just on-boarded and have bought your services or products at least once. They have interacted with your products but know little about your business.
Potential Customers: this subset is interested in your products or services but is still surveying if your offerings can meet their pain points. Once satisfied, they will become new customers.
Loyal Customers: they have used your products and services and come back repeatedly. They also promote your services to others.
If you are a new business, you may not have loyal customers yet. The goal is to transform both prospective and new customers into a loyal client base. But in this article, you will learn how a business owner gets a business up and running by building a loyal customer base.
Why You Need a Reliable Client Base
You may wonder, do I need a client base? I have an excellent product already. Shouldn’t I sell to anyone who shows up? You should. However, a business owner gets a business up and running by reducing the cost and time of convincing prospective customers. Having a reliable client base means you spend fewer resources serving and growing the current loyal base.
One study by the Harvard Business Review showed that increasing repeat customers increased profits by 25%-95%. Once a customer is on-board, they are convinced of your value proposition, and all you have to do is maintain that relationship.
A loyal client base also helps you maneuver aggressive completion in the market. Unless yours is a unique and new product or service, you likely have competitors with the same products and services you are offering. Prospective clients are looking for a reliable business and not necessarily trying every product in the market.
For example, if a client was looking for propane companies. Once they find one that meets their needs and one where they are valued, why would they need to look for another propane company?
How to Attract a Reliable Client Base
Before a business owner can get a loyal client base, they must attract them first. For example, if you have a newly opened pawn shop, you do not have a client base yet, even though your pawns could be the best. Let’s look at how a business owner gets a business up and running by first attracting clients.
Run an Email Marketing Campaign: Email marketing looks like a thing only big businesses do. But you can use your current email list to market your services. As your businesses grow, collecting more emails and maintaining a personalized relationship with your client base will be easy.
Create Brand Awareness on Social Media: Leverage social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to make your brand visible. It will also help you get word of mouth spreading online. Back to your pawn shop, social media can help ensure prospective buyers near you know what you do.
Offer More Value than Competition: You can differentiate yourself from the competition by offering extra value. You don’t have to sacrifice profits; only be a little creative. For example, offer non-plastic packaging if you have a grocery shop.
Do Partnerships: Look for businesses open for partnerships to do referrals for you. For example, if you are a roofer, you can leave your business card with local roofing businesses. You do not have to look for similar businesses. For example, you can ask a fitness or hiking group to wear your branded merchandise.
A business owner gets a business up and running by incentivizing customers to come on board. Once the customers are on-board, you can build customer relations to ensure they stay on board.
How to Keep and Grow a Reliable Client Base using Customer Relations: 10 Strategies
So, now you know why any business needs a client base and how a business owner gets a business up and running by attracting a client base. But you can’t stop there. If you want your business to grow and keep growing, you need to keep a growing client base. You can achieve this by having intentional customer relations. It will take time and patience, but you will love the results.
1. Deliver Exceptional Customer Service
One of the ways a business owner gets a business up and running is by delivering exceptional customer service. Think of your purchasing habits, for example, your barber or hairstylist. Why do you keep going back? Would you return to a business that delivered crappy services if you could help it? It’s likely not. One study by Zendesk shows that 80% of customers drop a brand because of poor service provision. Sometimes all you have to do is ensure you meet and exceed the expectations of your customer.
2. Encourage Customer Referrals with Incentives
Successful business owners know the power of referrals. In the service industry, one satisfied customer can get your business up and running by recommending your business to other customers. So valuable are referrals that companies like Tesla don’t do traditional advertising. Customers get discounts every time they refer new customers through their referral program.
You can also encourage customer advocacy by incentivizing them to recommend your business to others. For example, if you are in the metal recycling businesses, you can offer branded merchandise to every customer who brings another customer on board.
3. Collect and Respond to Customer Feedback
A business owner gets a business up and running by collecting and responding to customer feedback. You may be happy to see sales coming in, but it would make you happier if customers were also satisfied. Platforms such as Google allow you to collect customer feedback easily.
Once you receive feedback, respond and act on it. Thank the customer for the positive feedback, and continue with the same quality of service. It may be more challenging to receive negative feedback. However, you can respond with grace and take responsibility. Make efforts to improve.
4. Create a Customer Loyalty Program
What is a better way to maintain a loyal customer base than to reward your customers with a loyalty program? It will make them feel valued and seen. Many businesses in the hospitality and banking industry have realized the value of rewarding loyalty and have implemented them in their businesses.
Your loyalty program doesn’t have to be complicated. You can choose to give points each time a customer does a repeat visit. At the end of the year, you can have them exchange their points with something of value, including a cost cut.
5. Personalize Communication
Nothing slows the growth of any relationship like being robotic and general. It is probably easier and cheaper to send out generalized messages that speak to anyone. However, it takes intentionality to send personalized communication.
Remember that your clients are normal human beings like your friends. Talk to them in a friendly and personalized tone. If a car owner visits your Acura repair garage, don’t refer to them as ‘customer,’ ‘client,’ or worse, ‘car owner.’ Address them with their names if possible. Personalize communication.
6. Respond Immediately
One way to slow down the growth of customer relations is taking time to respond. Customers value convenience. If they can’t get an immediate response, they will move to the next available vendor. Even if you do not have time or a direct answer, respond with a promise to come back with a better answer.
When a business owner responds immediately, it gives the sense that they are reliable and can be trusted. For example, say someone was looking for hardwood floor refinishers immediately. If you didn’t respond with immediacy, they would ask another company, and you would lose your potential client.
7. Invest in Customer Relationship Management Tools
Once your business starts getting customers, you may need to invest in CRM tools such as HubSpot. They enable you to have an organized platform where you can keep communications with customers fresh. You could also hire a CRM manager to respond to customers immediately. You can start with a package for small businesses and increase your subscription to a bigger package. CRM tools help you send consistent and high-quality messages.
8. Regularly Survey Customer Satisfaction
A business owner gets a business up and running by keeping updated on customer satisfaction. You can spontaneously ask customers what they love most about your product or service and where you can improve. You can do this through online platforms or oral interviews. Customers will feel valued that you cared enough to ask their opinion.
9. Use Social Media to Build Relationships
Social media is a good platform for building relationships. You can have social media tools without building relationships with customers. You can use bots to send personalized messages if your client base is wide. You can also follow your client base, reactions, and engagement on social media.
Create sharable content that is engaging to users. Also, aim at matching customers’ habits. For example, create highly visual content if your customer base seems to be more active on Instagram than on Facebook. Reply to every comment if possible.
10. Use Partnerships to Build Customer Relations
One of the most effective ways to build customer relations is through partnerships. People will likely trust your business if you partner with other businesses they value. For example, if you offer car lockout services, you can keep partnerships with the local car wash and auto garages. You can offer to refer customers to them and vice versa. Partnerships will help you grow your current client base to a larger one.
A business owner gets a business up and running by building a reliable customer base. However, this is not a passive process. As a business owner, you must be intentional about building customer relations. We hope this guide will help you hit the ground running by building worthwhile and productive customer relations.
Remember that the quality of your customer relations and not necessarily the size of your business matters. You could even start as the only employee in your business and still have a reliable customer base. We have provided you with the knowledge and tips. Now all you need is to implement them.