Building rapport with your customers may seem more like a pleasant side-effect of correspondence than a serious business strategy. Sure, it makes conversations more interesting, produces a real connection, and reminds you that the statistics you’re chasing — whether they be sales conversions or MQLs or anything else – are tied to real people. But building real relationships for your business is more than just a nice guy routine. It can have a noticeable impact on your business.
Want your customers to succeed
Seems simple, is simple. Your customers are the lifeblood — to be cliche — of your business. Their success is your success. Give them information and tools to help them be successful, including thought leadership content, ebooks and more.
Meet face-to-face and know your customers
You have to know your customers and let them know you. Meet face-to-face and build relationships.
Drew Frey, Customer Marketing Manager at ReadyTalk said, “You do business with people, and more importantly, you do business with people that you like — that make it easy for you to do business with them. It might be Mark from sales, or Cheri from account management — putting a face to a name is really powerful.”
Deliver a positive brand experience every time
Another aspect is a customer’s relationship to an organization as a whole. Deliver the brand promise in every interaction — from Marketing to Sales to Account Management to Customer Service. The entire process should be about building a good relationship at every single touch point, everywhere along the journey.
With social media, it’s more important than ever for those touch points to be positive, too. People will tell friends and family (potential customers) if they like or dislike their experience.
Turn Mistakes Into Opportunities
Mistakes happen no matter who you are or what your business is, but the way you address them can make a world of difference.
“I’d argue a huge part of ReadyTalk’s success is the rapport part of our business,” said Kim Wachtel, ReadyTalk’s director of customer experience. “If something goes wrong, handling it with integrity and proactive communication can actually build on that rapport and relationship, helping you retain customers in spite of those problems,” said Kim Wachtel, ReadyTalk’s director of customer experience.
Recently, a customer let us know our theories were right with a small unprompted post.
Target true advocates and give them opportunities to shine
Seth Godin talks about bringing advocates into your tribe, because they’re stronger than just brand ambassadors. They’ll talk about your product with friends, share thoughts on social media, and go beyond the typical business relationship to provide benefits you never thought of.
Take a recent experience at ReadyTalk. One of our salespeople cold-called a prospect, and on the other end of the call was someone who’d recently had a bad experience with a competitor and was considering switching. That prospect became a customer, and because ReadyTalk delivered more than the bare minimum, that customer became an advocate.
“Not only does he love ReadyTalk’s core product, but he’s so passionate about the experience he’s had that he’s willing to go above and beyond,” Drew explained. “A customer that started from a cold call has now provided us with a case study, a testimonial, and feedback to our product team, and will be mentioned in a media opportunity. And that’s just the last two weeks.”
You can cultivate advocates like this in a number of ways, and while they receive an experience they never imagined, you’re getting smart, savvy and loyal customers to share what they think about you.
Invite them to tradeshows
Shelby Knops, a ReadyTalk customer from Birst, attended a recent tradeshow with us. Shelby agreed to speak candidly with potential customers about ReadyTalk and our products. He answered questions and endorsed ReadyTalk consistently and honestly.
That never would have happened if Shelby didn’t feel a real connection to ReadyTalk, and real connection only comes with an intentional effort, consistent integrity and goodwill, and a desire for your customers to truly succeed.
Give them a community … and prizes
Another powerful part of ReadyTalk’s customer marketing is the Summit Club. It’s an online community where customers — true advocates — can interact with peers and employees. They’re also rewarded for feedback and “challenges” — like sharing information with peers. They get points for their advocacy and can redeem them for prizes.
In the end, happy customers create more happy customers
“Word of mouth is the oldest marketing channel in the book,” said Drew. “It’s also the most effective. If you provide a good experience, and go above and beyond to help your customers succeed, they’re going to tell people.”
Who? They’re going to tell their families and friends, people at networking events, partners, vendors — and those referrals are more powerful than any other marketing tools.
“It’s easy to discount word of mouth virality because it’s hard to track… But I really think there’s this undercurrent of good will and doing the right thing that goes a long way. It can even smooth over some rough patches,” said Drew. And that brings us full circle.
“How can you attain these prospects that don’t even know about you? I think a lot of it can be done with, yes, marketing efforts in general, but also by providing a great experience for your existing customers so they can’t help but tell their friends,” Drew says.