Definition: What is a customer relationship anyway?
Tip #1: Use several different channels and build your own
Tip #2: Pay attention to the right choice of words in communication
Tip #3: Create relevant content for your target group
Tip #4: Use your time to try out new services
Conclusion & insider tip at the end
A customer relationship is the contact between a company and its customers. It is considered a decisive success factor for long-term customer loyalty and requires regular, targeted and coordinated maintenance.
We have summarized 4 pieces of advice and starting points here that can help you and your company to build long-term customer relationships and thus sustainably strengthen loyalty, customer satisfaction and customer retention.
Your customers are different and so are the ways in which you can reach them. It is important that you - individually for your company - spread your communication measures across as many different channels as possible (e.g. website, social media, newspapers, trade journals, etc.) in order to reach as many customers as possible. Your customers will repay you for the increased presence with additional trust, among other things.
In the first step, you should primarily use your own channels. Make an overview of all the communication channels you have. Here is a checklist for you:
Meta: Facebook & Instagram
Linkedin & Xing
X (formerly Twitter)
Search engine marketing (Google, Bing, etc.)
For each piece of content you want to share and distribute, you can go through this overview and decide whether the individual channel is suitable or not. When in doubt: it's better to try than to study!
Digital communication channels in particular are very useful nowadays, as they are considered particularly effective for companies thanks to their personalization and targeting options. For example, a newsletter or targeted ads on various social networks. If you don't have a newsletter yet, you can start now:
All common newsletter tools such as MailChimp, CleverReach, Brevo (formerly Sendinblue) or rapidmail offer simple options for personalization, targeted playout and, above all, automation.
If you don't yet have any email addresses for your customers, you can organize a competition, for example. Advertise it on social networks and you will receive many entries to your newsletter within a very short time.
People like it when there are products or services to be won - that's why this is one of the most effective measures in customer relationship management to get (new) high-quality customer data. It is also an excellent way to build a good individual customer relationship.
Other digital channels that you can use to build a customer relationship include the aforementioned social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Xing or TikTok, the website, your own company blog or your own app including push notifications.
But offline channels are also well suited to consolidating or building a customer relationship. Mailshots are still relevant, even if their use has steadily declined in recent years. Use your stationary stores and shop windows, where hundreds or even thousands of people pass by every day.
Of course, advertisements can also be placed, both digitally and in traditional channels such as print and radio. However, this is very budget-intensive. It is therefore worthwhile in the long term to build up your own communication channels (in marketing circles, this is often referred to as "owned media", "paid media" and "earned media"). In addition to budget savings, this has other advantages, the most important of which are Independence, flexibility and data sovereignty.
The pandemic situation in 2020 was frustrating for everyone. It has therefore been all the more important to spread positive messages when communicating with customers.
During the coronavirus pandemic, content that points to the cohesion of society has been particularly well received. And you surely want to build a positive customer relationship with your customers - it doesn't help to complain forever. A good example of this was an ad from Edeka:
With the slogan "We keep our distance. And together." was a positive reference to social distancing rules. However, it was also important that not everything revolved around the pandemic. More information on this can be found in tip #3.
For your success in online marketing, always keep in mind: create content that inspires customers to try something new!
Especially on social media, this doesn't have to be a glossy promotional video about your brand or the latest products. Try out new formats such as Instagram Guides, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts or TikTok. All you usually need to create them is your smartphone and a good idea - building customer relationships can be so easy!
As a source of inspiration, you can search social networks for terms related to your products. Pinterest is particularly good for this. One company that has been using content marketing to strengthen its customer relationships for a long time is Westwing. The company posts new inspiration for its customers on its Instagram account every day. The reels format is currently used very often for this.
If you need a quick graphic and aren't an InDesign or Photoshop genius, you can use intuitive tools like Canva to create social media-ready images quickly and easily.
Less is often more for companies: simple measures such as sharing simple but well thought-out graphics can quickly and easily take your customer communication and customer acquisition to the next level - especially in times of AI. You also strengthen trust in your brand through regular communication!
Customers are now used to being able to choose from different services and increasingly expect them. Successfully building a customer relationship in the age of digitalization therefore also means simply trying out new options and channels from time to time. Even if they don't always work straight away, this allows you to build trust and position yourself as innovative.
Call&Collect, for example, can be a complement to Click&Collect. Many companies already offer this option when someone contacts them by phone. However, this is usually not advertised and the company misses many opportunities here. This service is particularly relevant for people who have less affinity for digital.
Another service (which has proven particularly effective during the coronavirus-related lockdowns) is Live Shopping. The trend from China, in which products are presented via livestream, is now also arriving in Europe and is enjoying great popularity. In addition, questions from the chat are answered live, which has an extremely positive influence on purchasing decisions.
All these new services strengthen the bond with your customers and help you in the customer relationship.
Customer loyalty and building long-term customer relationships are not a sprint, but a marathon. The sooner you address the issue, the better. True to the motto: The best time to start was yesterday, the second best time is today.
So take the time now to develop a plan for building and intensifying customer relationships. You'll see, it will be worth it!
Our advice should serve as a source of inspiration and bring your company closer to your customers step by step. A bonus at the end: take a closer look at the Business Model Canvas!