Tips for lasting customer relationships

Virgin Trains 250m customers competition

Want lasting customer relationships for your business? Here's a guest blog sharing 12 top tips for building lasting and profitable customer relationships. Bear in mind these are not Virgin's views, but a general guide from one of our trusty guest bloggers.

12. Never assume

Just because something is clear to you - your opening hours, how to navigate your website, your returns policy, etc it doesnt mean its clear to your customers and it leads to more work for you and a bad experience for your customers if you dont give information clearly upfront.

11. Under-promise, over deliver

Always give yourself a bigger window than you need on service promises such as response times or delivery. Exceeding expectations is the key to really loyal happy customers.

10. Make it easy for customers to get in touch

Show telephone numbers clearly and make sure theyre answered by people, not recorded voices. Answer social media enquiries as swiftly as possible. Be flexible.

9. Keep your customers in the know

We live in an age of such bad service particularly on the telephone that simply following up on what you have committed to do engenders surprise and gratitude in customers, and isnt hard to do.

8. Use mystery shoppers

Do get people to mystery shop for you regularly whether youre a retailer or not. Sometimes its hard to see where youre going wrong if youre too involved and an outside, unemotional view can reveal some important areas for improvement.

7. Make sure your employees understand your brand

Make sure everyone who works with you understands what your brand stands for both in terms of image and presentation as well as service and product so that they can live by this when talking to customers. Brand communication to customers shouldnt stop at the adverts you place.

6. Make your reviews visible

If youre an online company, make sure you have reviews of your service and products and show them warts and all customers are much more trusting of a company where they can understand what has gone wrong and how youve gone about fixing it.

5. Dont give up on an unhappy customer

Dont give up on a customer who has complained or declares theyll never use you again. Work out how much it costs you to recruit a customer before deciding not to refund them or compensate them you might be surprised! We have often found that the customers who were most upset have gone on to become our most loyal and biggest advocates if they have found weve gone the extra mile to make it up to them. But having said that, if youve done all you can within reason, sometimes you have to put your hands up and admit defeat. In those cases, have a read of the good reviews and move on.

4. Incentivise your existing customers

Your existing customers are your best marketing tools incentivise them to refer you on to their friends and family.

3. Stay connected to your customers

Stay involved as your business grows. Dont stop talking to customers just because youve got other people who do it most of the time. You need to keep connected to them to understand what they want from your company.

2. Keep an eye on your checkout process

Monitor and contact customers struggling or dropping out before checkout its very easy to convert these customers into ordering and it also allows you to pick up on an area that may require improvement for the overall customer experience.

1. Always be testing

Test, test, test not just at website launch, relaunch and new release but constantly, to monitor use flow and information and to make sure that the user experience is the best that it can possibly be.

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