Sales & Marketing

The art of business dating: Make your customers swipe right

7 min read

07 October 2016

Getting the business-customer relationship right from the offset is difficult. You don’t know much about the person or the way they like to interact but you’ll go above and beyond to make it a success and win that customer loyalty.

The same applies to dating, the difference being, if a first date doesn’t quite go to plan, you never have to see the person again. While this may seem perfect to some, for businesses it means the loss of a valuable customer and no chance of loyalty.

So what can companies do to not only attract customers but also win them over from the first interaction and create a long-lasting relationship?

For me, I believe you should treat your customers as you would a partner.

The rules of attraction

For many of us the beginning of a relationship is usually seen as the best. It’s fresh, interesting and everything seems exciting, the “honeymoon period”. Both parties go out of their way to impress each other and bonds between the couple strengthen.

This should be no different when it comes to businesses and their customers. It’s at this initial stage in a relationship that an organisation needs to demonstrate to a customer why they are the right choice and essentially, the right business for them.

First impressions count – the early days of a relationship can act as a “make or break” moment between customers sticking with you or quickly moving to a competitor.

It’s important to invest time and effort into giving customers attention and making them feel valued. This will not only show them that you care, but will create the spark that’s needed to keep the customer interested past the first interaction.

Get up-close and personal

Every personal relationship is different and the same goes for business relationships. You can’t treat a new customer the same way you treated your last. People have different preferences when it comes to interacting, meaning what may have worked for one customer, could easily put another off.

So how do you solve this? Get to know them as individuals and how they like to interact so you’re able to connect with them in the right way. Taking a personal approach means you can tailor your offering based on preferences and needs. Over time you’ll learn more and know exactly the best, most suitable service and support to offer to your customer. This will enhance the relationship and develop a strong, unique bond, making customers want to return for the same high-end experience next time.

Continue on the next page for three more gestures of the business variety that can woo you customers and leave them tingling all over.

Show you care

In plenty of relationships, the end of the honeymoon period is when both parties get comfortable, pay less attention, relax and don’t make as much effort to impress each other. You’ve been together a while, know their every move and with that, know that they’re not going anywhere.

The same can be said for the business-customer relationship. When you’ve retained a customer over a long period, businesses can often relax their efforts, putting more into obtaining new customers, allowing distance to come between them and the ones they already have.

Maintaining your existing customer relationships is as important, if not more important than creating new ones. Never get complacent with them, ensure all customers constantly feel special and see if they’re still happy with the service they’re getting. If not, it’s time to make a change. Let them know they still matter by listening to them, their feedback is worth its weight in gold to you and can reduce the possibility of another business wooing them away.

Celebrate anniversaries

We’ve probably all heard a story or two about someone being in the “dog house” for forgetting an anniversary in a relationship. One of the main purposes of celebrating a special date is remembering how long a couple has been committed and loyal to one another, so why shouldn’t businesses also celebrate this with their customers?

Now I don’t mean go and buy each of your customers a card and flowers, but try rewarding your devoted customers with relevant incentives. Once you’ve established which benefits work for each individual, increase incentives as the relationship continues, it shows you not only recognise their loyalty but also appreciate it.

If something goes wrong, make it up to them

In relationships, whether personal or business, things can go wrong for a number of reasons. Instead of being seen as an issue, businesses should see these points as an opportunity to not only turn it around, but also rebuild a bond with the customer.

Firstly, be upfront. Take responsibility for your role in the problem and apologise. Work hard to find a solution that resolves the issue on both sides and keep all those involved informed during the process. Offer your customer a gesture of goodwill and finally ensure that feedback is implemented in the future, making sure the same problem doesn’t happen again.

Following these steps will not only bring you one devoted customer but could potentially bring multiple, as customers who encounter positive experiences are nearly three times more likely to recommend a brand.

Once you’ve mastered the art of business-customer dating, growing and maintaining new relationships will come naturally and your organisation will attract many loyal customers, all ready for long-term relationships.

Patricia Hyde is field marketing manager at Zendesk

With dating in mind, it turns out the title of entrepreneur no longer holds as much sway on whether you get right-swiped on Tinder as it once did.

Image: Shutterstock