Building a client relationship that works

Talking to your customers, clients, patients or entire audience is easy. But identifying people's problems, pain points, interests and desires is another thing. When creating campaigns (talks or dialogues) for your customer base, you should always start with building a relationship first. We often forget that mutual trust starts with welcoming people in your store... online or offline. 

Welcome, Good day, how are you? 

It doesn't matter what you sell but welcoming a customer in your store should be the first thing you do. Even when you already know the visitor is not going to buy. It is so simple. It's nice. It's friendly. And people should always feel more at home in your store that the last time. The easiest way to do this online, is by sending your clients a letter when they have purchased something (or just subscribed to your newsletter). An email works great! Use your crm system to welcome your client... you can give some extra information about your store, products or services. That's it. 

What can I do for you? How can I help?

The next step in building your relationship online is going on a date. You want to show your customer something you know you both like. This might be a feature of your product, or some information about your service the customer liked before. But of course you want to know what these new visitors are looking for first. So find out what they are looking for by asking. Ask an open question during their visit online. This can be done via a tool called Usabilla, or a tool called Close Alert which you can use in emails and on your website. They both work perfectly when optimizing your relationship. 

I might have something for you

Than, when you really have established a relationship... suggest something. Suggesting something can be tricky if you do not have your confidence or your data in order. So again, research your product category and show the top 3 most bought stuff. Or that new product you just started selling! But be quick, and be confident. Otherwise you just lost the first opportunity to impress and further build that important relationship. If you do not want to suggest products or services to your clients, try to inspire them. Inspire them with stories of ambassadors or reviews of your previous clients. This might help them trust you more. 

Anything else? 

In the Netherlands we always hear: "Anders nog iets?", a translation of anything else. Something I first heard when I was a little kid when visiting the butcher with my mum. It's friendly, it's helpful and a great opportunity to sell something your customer might have forgotten. An online "anything else" example can be something as simple as suggesting something with a nice discount while the customer is in the sales funnel of his shopping session in your online store. During check out or while surfing. 

What ever you want to do first, start

All of the above are great ways to build a better online relationship with your customer but there is no perfect sequence. I know I will start with a welcome, but what comes next is up to you. Your online organisation might not be ready yet for all the steps, so start working towards the next. Preparing is work too. Also in relationships. You want to look good right when you need to be bold? Enjoy your day... build a ritual that matters.

Willem IJssel de Schepper