Building customer relationships
Your business is nothing without your customers. Developing the right customer service strategy, one that treats customers well and keeps them coming back for more, can help make your business even more profitable. Our guide looks at improving your customer service, encouraging customer commitment and how to avoid the wrong kind of loyalty.
Offering a good overall customer service experience is a critical part of building long-term, profitable relationships with your clients. Here are some ways to increase general customer satisfaction with your business:
- give your staff customer-service training
- make sure you have enough staff to handle all your customers' needs
- follow up with customers after a sale to make sure they're satisfied
- look for ways to improve overall efficiency – passing on reduced costs or cutting delivery times are good ways to keep customers happy
- follow the golden rule of customer service: under-promise and over-deliver
- deal with complaints effectively and offer to make things right with a refund or replacement product
- check with customers who have had problems that they're satisfied with your resolution.
Take a look at your occasional customers to:
- Analyse the demographics – could you better meet their needs by adjusting your product or service?
- Identify buying patterns – then contact customers to offer a special deal on their usual order.
- Send a newsletter with new product lines or special deals – expiry dates on coupons will encourage customers to act.
- Tailor your newsletters, emails and phone calls to specific clients/client groups to give them just the right amount of helpful, targeted information.
You can help drive repeat business by:
- giving discounts to customers who place bulk orders or spend a certain amount over a specified period – this can give customers a spending goal and encourage them to use you over a competitor
- offering deals for repeat or standing orders
- enhancing the customer service experience for your best customers – you could offer a VIP service team or more generous refund and replacement policy
- investing time in making personal connections with your most valuable customers.
The best way to make sure customers keep bringing their business to you is by consistently meeting their needs, not just offering discounted prices:
- Look at how your customers prefer to contact you – phone, email or face to face – and improve that communication channel.
- Analyse past customer service interactions to see what your customers’ priorities are, e.g. delivery times, value, new product lines or reliability.
- Examine competitor offerings to see if they're adding value to their product or service in a way that you're not – then better it.
- Spend time with your customers to see how they're actually using your product. Ask them what they'd like to see more of or less of in the future.
- Keep communicating with employees who deal directly with your customers so you can react quickly to any issues.
To make the most from your customer loyalty campaigns don't be afraid to drop the wrong kinds of customers.
- Identify which customers are most profitable and focus your efforts on increasing their business.
- Look for ways to maximise profitability e.g. encourage bulk orders so you benefit from economies of scale, or give discounts on standing orders.
- Expand your customer loyalty tactics beyond price cuts – not all customers are motivated by price.
- Drop unprofitable clients who abuse a generous refund policy or take up time with repeated requests for work to be re-done or products exchanged – you’ll improve staff morale and free up time for profitable customers.
Important legal information
Lloyds Bank is a trading name of Lloyds Bank plc, Bank of Scotland plc, Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc and Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH.
Lloyds Bank plc. Registered Office: 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN. Registered in England and Wales no. 2065. Bank of Scotland plc. Registered Office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ. Registered in Scotland no. SC327000. Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc. Registered office 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN. Registered in England and Wales no. 10399850. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 119278, 169628 and 763256 respectively.
Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc. Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH has its registered office at Thurn-und-Taxis Platz 6, 60313 Frankfurt, Germany. The company is registered with the Amtsgericht Frankfurt am Main, HRB 111650. Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH is supervised by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht.
Eligible deposits with us are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). We are covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). Please note that due to FSCS and FOS eligibility criteria not all business customers will be covered.
While all reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information provided is correct, no liability is accepted by Lloyds Bank for any loss or damage caused to any person relying on any statement or omission. This is for information only and should not be relied upon as offering advice for any set of circumstances. Specific advice should always be sought in each instance.