Lisa Robbin Young

Five ways to improve your customer relationships

As a solopreneur and small business owner, it often falls on your shoulders to do #AllTheThings - not only to sell your products or services, but also to handle every aspect of building your customer relationships. People need to know you, like you, and trust you enough to want to to business with you - and that doesn't end after the sale. Here are five things that can help you and your business to make a great impression before, during, and after the sale. 

Install a live chat on your website

In the last five years, live chat applications have really taken off. Live chat allows customers to speak directly to businesses while browsing their websites. As a solopreneur, you can either manage your live-chat yourself, answering customer questions when they arise, or alternatively, you may want to invest in an AI solution. AI live chats learn how to answer common questions and can be programmed to reach out to you if there’s a query that they cannot solve. 

Create interactive training resources

Since I started my coaching practice years ago, I've had interactive training as part of my body of work. Teleclasses, Webinars, and online courses aren't right for everyone, but you might be surprised at how a simple tutorial or how-to guide can help your buyers deepen their relationship with you.

Providing training to your buyers helps build the know, like, and trust factor. It reinforces in your client's mind that you know your stuff and that you're there to help them succeed. Plus, adding video to your client onboarding material, fillable PDFs, or other interactive resources tend to make a better impression than PDFs they have to fill out to use or outdated Word documents (not everyone has Word, yo!).

Creating interactive training resources for your business needn’t be as complicated as you might think. I started with simple YouTube videos, then built a wordpress membership site, and this year, we're adding LearnDash to our course building tools. You can also compare Adobe Connect to your current Adobe package, and you’ll find that with some simple upgrades, you have all of the tools you need to produce high-quality interactive training materials.

Personalize your communications 

It goes without saying that as your business begins to grow, you will find that you need to start automating some of your communications, but it is essential not to lose your personal touch. A good email service provider can help with that.

Rather than sending out blanket emails that just ‘hi there’, or ‘dear customer’, instead use merge tags to personalize each email with the customers’ name. You can also use tags to help segment your email lists into specific interest groups so that people are getting only the content they really want from you. Little personal touches can go a long way and will help to make your clients feel special.

Offer buying bonuses or loyalty rewards

Everyone loves bonuses and freebies! Consider incorporating some form of rewards scheme into your business to reward your loyal customers. You can also use gamification apps or plugins in your website to encourage repeat visitors and increase engagement with your content.

A loyalty scheme is also a great form of marketing. Make sure that people know about it if you want to use it to grow your loyal customer base. When I was in direct sales, I had consistency rewards for my team members. They didn't have to be tops in sales or recruiting, they just had to be consistently working their business. This made it possible for everyone to earn rewards, which kept more of my team active. I also have loyalty rewards built into Accountability Club. You earn free private coaching sessions each quarter that you are a member.

Ask for feedback and act on it

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask your existing clients for feedback. Asking for feedback not only helps you to refine your customer relations strategy, but it also makes your customers feel heard, which in itself, often improves how they perceive your business. Some of the ways that you can ask for feedback are by including a link to a survey in the footer of your email, handing out survey cards, or by simply putting up a suggestion box in your office if you have a physical location. Surveys can be hit or miss when you're just starting out, so take the time to ask your best clients and customers personally to get the best results. 

So there you have it - five simple things that can help you to improve your customer relations. Remember, as a creative entrepreneur, you are looking for progress and not perfection, so do not expect to have a pristine customer relations strategy right off the bat. Listen to your customers, give them what they want (in a way that works for you), and focus on providing exceptional service. The rest will start to come naturally. 

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