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Building Customer Relationships

Rahul Pandita
The importance of building customer relationships in today's fiercely competitive marketplace is well-researched and documented by eminent economists and strategists. Here, we will take a look at some ways of building a great rapport with your customers.
"Although your customers won't love you if you give bad service, your competitors will". We all know that a customer's satisfaction or happiness makes or breaks an organization. This is one of the reasons all the management gurus focus on the importance of building customer relationships.
Often, companies feel that the customer left them because the competitor was providing them a better price for the product, but studies have shown that customers leave because they think that their current company hardly cares for them.
If you stay in touch with a customer through phone calls, e-mails, newsletters, etc., without selling them anything, you are telling them indirectly that 'I care for you' and when the time comes to put their money on a product, chances are that the customer reciprocate the gesture. Let us take a look at some ways of building customer relationships.

Personalize the Relationship

One of the golden rules of business is "customers don't buy products, they buy you". Be helpful to anyone entering your store/office. Always greet them with a smile. This encourages them and helps in setting a positive vibe with the customer.
If you are contacting your customer over the phone, always ask if it is the right time to talk. Remembering a customer's preferences also helps as the customer gets the feeling that this person knows a thing or two about me which in turn increases the chances of a sale.

Take Feedback

After the customer has bought your product, make it a point to call him up and ask him how did he find it. You can call them every month. Listen to their suggestions and feedback carefully, because most of the time the suggestions/ feedback are the unwanted needs of the customer which if not met, can make the customer leave you for your competitors.

Keep Your Word

Always keep your word as there is nothing more upsetting for a customer than a failed promise. If there is a delay in the product's shipment, the first thing to do is to inform the customer about it. This is much better than the customer taking the day off from work, waiting for the product to come and then being told that he won't be receiving the product.
There is a high possibility that the customer will be frustrated and yell 'cancel the whole thing altogether, I don't want to order it'. Calling the customer beforehand and apologizing for the inconvenience will help the customer to understand the reason for the delay.

Appreciate their Loyalty

Sometimes, words are not enough to make a customer believe that you value them. If the customer has been buying products from you consistently, it is time you offer him discount coupons, membership plans etc. This helps in building a strong image of your company in the minds of consumers.
And nothing brings more smile on the faces of customers rather than the thought of paying only half the price for the product!


Building relationships through effective marketing also helps in keeping your customers well-informed. The marketing strategies have changed with the advent of various social networking sites and blogs. Therefore, it is essential for an organization to adapt to these changes to progress in the competitive market.

Challenges in Building Customer Relationships

Lack of Commitment

Organizations can lay down the structure and the policies to build relationships with customers, but employees are the ones who have to execute the policies. If employees are hostile towards a customer-friendly approach, then there is little scope for the organization to build a customer-friendly environment.

Poor Communication

It's very important to get the message across to the customers in a proper way. For example, if the product the customer is asking for is out of stock, then the employee needs to be apologetic to the customer and can give an approximate time-frame by which the product is expected to be back in stock. Being insensitive to customer's emotions drives them away.

Weak Leadership

If the leader is skeptic about the benefits of a customer-focused plan, it is unwise to expect that the employees will carry it out in the desired fashion. The leader should follow with an example. An effective leadership can really turn things around in the favor of an organization.
Building customer relationship is essential for the long term interest of an organization. In fact, businesses today have changed the buyer-seller equation and organizations are focusing more on working on the needs of the customers.
With all these new policies, customers have become the 'Kings' of the market. As Jeff Bezos says, "We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It's our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better".