A strong brand is important, but it is often no replacement for relationships. Rick Tate, a thought-leader on business topics, explains:
Merely satisfying customers will not be enough to earn their loyalty. Instead, they must experience exceptional service worthy of their repeat business and referral. Understand the factors that drive this customer revolution.
What a true and powerful quote. Building an effective widget or offering a low cost service is no longer enough to keep people coming in the door, coming back, and paying more. Today, building relationships with clients is imperative to a business’s success. Clients want to know, understand and engage with the brands they spend their time, energy, and money with.
In March of 2012, The Values Institute conducted a study and through surveying consumers identified the five values that influence trust in a brand:
- ability (company performance);
- concern (care for consumers, employees and community);
- connections (sharing consumers’ values);
- consistency (dependability of products/services); and
- sincerity (openness and honesty).
How are you building trust with your clients? How are you developing these important relationships?
Ability & Consistency
With a world full of brands at anyone’s fingertips, consumers want to know you can perform – and keep performing. Unless you show them and remind them often that you are the top of your industry, they won’t know it or remember. When you celebrate successes, bring the community along. Host an open house in your new office space, offer an anniversary discount and send your loyal customers that new widget before it hits the market.
Customers want to feel the business cares about them more than the transaction. As our days get busy, businesses need to remember to send thank you cards – both after meeting someone and when a referral is passed. Concern for your employees is also important: a happy, appreciated employee is going to work harder, sell more and care about the customer as much as you do. Appreciate your employees with an annual event that brings your community together and allows the employee to feel valued and secure.
Consumers see thousands of brand messages every day yet only remember a few of them. Unless an emotional connection is made, consumers won’t remember your brand. Showing you connect with your client’s values will allow them to remember your message. You can do that by inviting clients to a seminar or training that is specific to their industry. This gives them the opportunity to learn with you and shows you care about their success too. Consistently publish a newsletter or social media post with relevant content that will resonate with your audience.
Show the face behind the brand – people want to know the people they spend money with! Invite your clients to a holiday party and personally thank them. Host a happy hour for all of your clients and connect different businesses together so they can develop a relationship too. When calling clients, ask questions about them and take notes so you can follow-up with them later.
Kalsey Beach, is a Twin Cities corporate event planner and owner of Do Good Events. She is passionate about helping businesses develop relationships with their customers, employees, and community through one-of-a-kind events that highlight its brand and engage its audience.