Customer connection can be defined as the relationship you build with your customer outside of your product or service. It may be the most important part of the customer journey.
In a 2018 study, Sprout Social found that “nearly two thirds (64%) of consumers want brands to connect with them.”
Your customers don’t just want the solution your product promises—they want you and your team to be there for them, too. They want your support team to be there for them when something goes wrong. They want your sales team to consult and educate them on how to best use your products and services.
They’re looking for a personal connection—a human connection. They want to feel like more than just a case or ticket or a number added to your revenue.
Why is customer connection important?
Providing a human connection to your clients creates loyalty by providing a great customer experience. And that’s not only good for your customers. It’s good for business.
The same study from Sprout Social found that “Investing in relationships with consumers directly impacts business revenue and strengthens customer loyalty. When customers feel connected to brands, more than half of consumers (57%) will increase their spending with that brand and 76% will buy from them over a competitor.”
Connection is important to both your customers and to your business, so it’s worth making a priority.
6 best practices to build customer connections effectively
Connection doesn’t happen by accident in business. It needs to be intentional. Here are six ways to effectively connect with customers.
1. Make every customer feel unique
Gladly found that 79% of customers say “personalized service is more important than personalized marketing.”
But how do you do that? First and foremost, deliver great customer service to everyone that contacts your support team.
To show great customer service, respond promptly to your customers. Show empathy toward their issue. Do your best to understand where they’re coming from. If someone gives you negative feedback, reach out to them directly and offer to resolve the situation. You can even add empathy to your quality assurance (QA) scorecard to keep your team accountable.
Simple efforts make a big difference, such as:
- Using the customer’s name during communication
- Personalizing email templates to not sound so “corporate”
- Making sure issues are resolved promptly
Taking steps like these help your customers feel valued and prioritized when they need your assistance. Sometimes that’s all it takes to create a meaningful connection.
2. Learn about each client
UVL Uppuluri, Head of Customer Success at Cribl, says we should “care about the customers as individuals as these can’t be faked by shallow kindness or be driven only to achieve specific business or adoption outcomes.”
For your sales team, it’s important to care about your customers as people rather than simply as part of your commission. Use client meetings to ask good questions and show a genuine interest in your customers’ lives and interests. Get to know them beyond just their business needs.
Having a good sales operations process can help with this. Sales ops can make it easier to save and recall customer details in your CRM and can facilitate good handoffs from marketing to sales to customer success.
3. Attend to every customer issue
This may sound obvious, but your clients want an amazing experience when they contact your support team. They want their problems solved smoothly and quickly.
“Wow” your customers by getting to the root of their issues and then solving them fast. When you’re choosing goals, set speed of answer, handle ratio, and handle time metrics above the industry standard and then hold your team accountable to them.
If that sounds like a challenge, consider getting help from an expert outsourced support team to enable you to improve your customer service as you scale.
Fostering a sense of partnership and camaraderie between your sales team and support team can also help create a consistent positive experience and connection for your customers.
4. Touch base with your customers frequently
Rarely touching base can harm your relationship with your customers. They may forget about you, or worse yet, think they don’t really matter to you.
Instead, contact your customers frequently to touch base. Try things like:
- Having your sales team reach out shortly after a sale to check in and answer questions
- Set up scalable processes for your customer success team to regularly reach out and offer proactive help
- Have your marketing team send regular emails with best practices and stories from your industry.
- When you release a new product, reach out proactively to see if your customers want to test or purchase it.
Activities like this keep your company top of mind, and if you can execute on them in a personalized way, can also help create stronger connections with your customers.
5. Ask for feedback
Feedback is crucial to creating customer connections. Asking for feedback shows your customers you value their opinion and want to improve the service you provide them. Here’s the catch: If you ask for feedback, you also need to find ways to act upon it.
Asking for feedback can be structured or unstructured. It can happen in informal conversations or through automated tools. Here are some examples:
- Send customer surveys after interactions with your customer support team
- Have your sales team ask questions about how your customers like your product and how they’re seeing value from it
- Send out pulse surveys to your customers (and incentivize them with if necessary)
Stress with your clients that you always want their honest feedback. Even if it’s feedback that’s tough for you to hear, when you receive it with grace and openness, your customers will take notice.
6. Exceed customers’ expectations
One of the best ways to create a connection with your customers is to exceed their expectations. At Peak Support, we say you should make exceeding expectations your mission.
They say you only get one chance to make a first impression on someone, but that’s not always the case. Each interaction you have with your customers is a separate opportunity to leave a positive lasting impression on them. The sum of all those interactions forms your customer’s overall experience with your brand.
Hubspot gives a personal connection example of a regular customer at a Mongolian Grill restaurant. They forgot their wallet so couldn’t pay after eating. The restaurant recognized them as a regular customer and told them it was on the house that day. That’s an amazing way to exceed a customer’s expectations and create brand loyalty.
Ask yourself how you can exceed your customers’ expectations in a similar way. Could you empower your support team to occasionally surprise customers with a free month of your product?
Enhance your customer connections
Connecting with customers is easier said than done, but it starts with putting—and keeping—your customers first. A customer-centric mindset means everything you do is organized around your customers.
The payoff to being intentional with customer connection is the creation of lifelong relationships and high brand loyalty.
At Peak Support, we can provide the help and expertise you need to build long-lasting customer connections. Contact us today for more info on how we can help support your existing teams!