customer relationships

How Growing Businesses Can Maintain Customer Relationships Like it’s Day One

Today’s most successful startups are growing fast. Yet, with fast growth comes an expanded customer base; and with it, the potential to lose the close relationships you had in the early days.

Customer experience is more important now than ever. A recent Walker study reported that customer experience will overtake product and price as the key differentiator for customer retention and renewals.

Letting these relationships slip simply isn’t an option. However, you can reduce this risk with great communication. Make sure your customers feel like they’re getting the same attention they received on day one by:

  • Communicating with them consistently
  • Using smart tools to streamline and personalize customer interaction
  • Listening to and acting on what your customer base is saying

Keep communication consistent, yet streamlined

As your customer base grows, communicating with each customer will become more complicated and time-consuming. Not only does this give you more work, but it could also make customers feel that they’ve been forgotten if they don’t hear from you as often as they used to.

Back when we first started our business, whenever a customer would request a new feature, we would usually develop it, hoping that we were helping the majority of our other customers, too. But as we expanded, we realized that we were spending hours on the phone providing support to customers and responding to a lot of unnecessary requests. While these types of calls helped build relationships, they were also time consuming.

To streamline these lines of communication with our customers, we deployed ZenDesk, a system that allows customers to submit a ticket and enter an email exchange with a support specialist. Using a tool to help us communicate better with our customers allowed us to make sure we were dealing with all customer support requests quickly.

Related: Why Focusing on Customer Success Will Pay Off in the Long Run

Keep relationships personal

Make sure your communication with customers remains as personalized as it was on day one. No customer wants to feel like they’re one of many that receives routine contact. Using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool can help you keep track of customer preferences and communicate with them on a personal level, too.

Reaching out to customers through tailored communication will make sure they feel valued. For example, we make sure to call every one of our new customers to make sure they have everything they need. This lays the foundation for a proactive relationship where they know they can come to us with any questions or needs they have.

Sending out emails with personalized messaging or even contacting customers on their birthdays can also help foster these types of relationships. And you can use analytics to understand what extra products or features customers might be interested in, rather than bombarding them with nonstop offers.

Listen to your customer base

Your customers need to know that communication is more than just words, and that you’re taking action. As mentioned above, you can do this by turning their feedback into a development tool.

By putting your customers’ feedback at the heart of your development decisions, not only will they feel like they’ve made an impact, but you’ll also learn what improvements you need to make. We gather this type of feedback from customer survey data, running focus groups, and creating usability studies to understand what our customers need from our product. In fact, we created many of our best features from this kind of feedback. It’s played a crucial role in building the company into what it is today.

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The bottom line

Ninety four percent of business executives surveyed by HundredX agreed with the following statement: “Listening to customer feedback is increasingly critical to the bottom line.”

Taking your customers’ suggestions on board is a smart decision. It helps with customer experience and company growth. Building close customer relationships involves constructive two-way communication. By making sure your communication with your customer base is personalized and streamlined, and that you’re proactively listening to and acting upon their feedback, you can keep them as close as your first-ever customers.

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