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5 Ways to Build, Strengthen and Retain Customer Relationships

By Shawna Williams

 

Is your organization hemorrhaging employees? OI Partners recent survey reported that 90% of companies are worried about losing key employees. In 2009, it was reported that employee turnover cost U.S. businesses an estimated $300 billion. This includes, but not limited to, the intangible costs associated with damaged customer relationships.

 

What is the cost to your business when you lose a customer because your key sales person or key engineer walked out the door? I’ll go out on a ledge and propose that these two concepts go hand and hand.

 

Happy Employees + Satisfied Customers = Profitability

 

Here are five ways to build, strengthen and retain your customer relationships.

 

1. Take Care of Your Employees and They Will Take Care of Your Customers. Treat your employees with respect and integrity. There are numerous ways to show your employees appreciation without raising their annual salary such as leadership coaching and development. If you can find a way to show your employees gratitude and respect, they will find a way to make your business successful.

 

2. Embrace Social Media and Listen to Your Employees and Customers. Marketing is no longer a one-way street. Social media keeps relationships strong – it is a two way street. Use it to build your reputation and to listen to your employees and customers. When a problem erupts, you can nip it in the bud immediately.

 

3. Build the Employee/Customer Network – It’s Your Sales Lifeline. Have acustomer retention conversation with your employees and customers and listen to what they need and/or want from your company and from you as a leader. Having open and honest conversations with your employees and customers will lead to loyalty and passionate people who believe in your products or services.

 

4. Live and Breathe Customer Focus: Without customers, your organization would cease to exist. Hire and develop employees that understand that customer focus should be the number 1 priority.

 

5. Create a “Mom-and-Pop” Familiarity. This may seem counter-intuitive to #2 listed above, so let me clarify. Listening and interacting with your customers and employees via social media channels should not mean that you abandon the intimacy that is found in face-to-face relationships. Customers and employees want to feel as if they are #1, so get out of your office or cubicle and interact with your team, employees and customers.

 

Has employee retention issues impacted how your organization builds, strengthens and retains customer relationships? In what other ways do you maintain key relationships with your customers? 

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The vOIce

The vOIce is written by many of the managing partners of OI Partners. Topics include our ideas on how you or your organization can be effective in areas related to career development, executive development, workforce development, career transition and more.


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