How to Strengthen Customer Relationships in Our Virtual Environment

When was the last time you thanked your customers? Or, set up a coffee chat with one of your key clients to receive their feedback? 

Since most in-person activities have been put on pause, it’s likely been awhile. 

And between emails, Slack pings, Microsoft Teams chats, Google Hangouts, Zoom sessions, and phone calls, just because you may be frequently contacting your clients, doesn’t mean that you’re fostering strong connections with them. 

Although our workplaces have become increasingly virtual, there are quite a few ways that you can go about acquiring customer feedback and practicing regular client appreciation that will help you to guarantee that your accounts remain healthy. 

In this blog post, we’ll uncover: 

  • The importance of building relationships with your clients virtually
  • How leveraging EQ can help you circumvent customer churn
  • 3 ways practicing an attitude of gratitude will help you to engage and retain your partners

Why It’s Essential to Gain Face-to-Face Time with Your Clients—Even via FaceTime

We already know that it’s incredibly important to maintain solid relationships with our clients, especially when it comes to…

  • Introducing new products or services 
  • Securing upsell or cross-sell opportunities 
  • Ensuring contract renewals
  • Expanding current accounts 

However, now that a lot of our face-to-face time is conducted via FaceTime, it’s become even harder to ensure that our customers don’t churn, and increase their loyalty towards our organizations. 

For example, some of our client’s pain points have shifted while pivoting in our virtual environment. And, the rise in remote work has made it harder to block off time on key stakeholders’ calendars. 

Additionally, since we’re no longer conducting “business as usual,” we’re unable to demonstrate how much we value our customers’ business by meeting with them for in-person lunches, drinks, and dinners. 

 

via GIPHY

Due to recent internal adjustments and changing budgets, now more than ever, solidifying our client relationships is critical to ensure that our accounts don’t churn over time. 

Note that in the words of Punchh’s CEO, “Every time you interact with a customer and don’t offer them something highly customized and relevant to their personal interests, you are missing an opportunity to make a sale or earn their loyalty.” 

Punchh CEO Tweet

By listening to your customers’ challenges and adding appreciation to strengthen these relationships, you can retain your clients, expand your accounts, and gain genuine customer loyalty—both virtually and in person

How Incorporating EQ will Help You to Circumvent Customer Churn

At a high level, there are two main reasons that explain why customers churn, or worse, choose to partner with our top competitors: They don’t feel heard or valued

According to SaaSList, 57% of email recipients consider a message to be spam if it isn’t applicable to their needs. This means that if your messages aren’t customized to address your clients’ problems, questions, or needs, then they won’t consider your outreach to be relevant because you’re not focusing on helping them to overcome their business’ challenges. 

To make matters more daunting, the number one reason for why customers churn is because they don’t feel valued. 

Not only do 68% of clients avoid renewing their current contracts because they believe that their partner doesn’t appreciate their business, but 30% of customers switch providers because they feel that there is no reward for their loyalty.

Why Clients Switch Providers

However, there are two very important tools that will help you to establish solid connections with your customers, separate yourself and your business from the competition, and strengthen these relationships in your efforts to grow your accounts: emotional intelligence and gratitude!

If you’re wondering how these two tools will assist you in driving customer retention and advocacy, consider the following:

  • Salesforce states that 64% of customers don’t feel “well known” by their partners. Therefore, in your effort to strengthen these relationships, it’s important to implement emotional intelligence (EQ) by listening more than talking in order to evaluate what your customers’ pain points are. 
  • There’s a science behind practicing client appreciation. According to a study conducted by Harvard Medical school, when gratitude is displayed and communicated, people begin to: Feel more valued, strengthen connections, and develop personal loyalty.

Additionally, garnering customer feedback and practicing client appreciation will create short-term and long-term results. 

By creating a dialogue with your customers and acknowledging them throughout your discussions, you will: 

  • Learn the obstacles that they’re trying to overcome right off of the bat
  • Gain their confidence through creating more personalized conversations
  • Make them feel valued, which will result in a strengthened relationship, personal loyalty towards your business, and greater business opportunities down the road as a result of reciprocity.

3 Tactics for Strengthening Your Customer Relationships

To help you with strengthening your client relationships, our team has put together a three-step process that will help you reinforce your key connections:

1. Garner Customer Feedback

First, begin by asking your customers for their feedback—either through a structured survey or by asking after an upcoming call—to uncover their pain points. This will allow you to tailor your conversations towards their needs and priorities moving forward. 

Once you’ve heard their perspective, follow these two steps:

1.) Leverage emotional intelligence (EQ), or the ability to understand other people, what their motivations are, and how to collaborate with them, by putting yourself in their shoes.

2.) Provide (free) value. Examples include: 

  • a.) A customized deck, curated blog post, or content piece that pairs your product or service with their primary concerns
  • b.) A gesture of appreciation that not only builds your relationship further, but also helps to make their life easier

2. Turn Your Presentations into Two-way Conversations

If you’re used to sharing a deck with your clients in order to show them that you’re hitting or exceeding their KPIs, to ensure that these presentations turn into two-way conversations, start by getting to know them better and asking them for their input. 

To build customer relationships during your presentations, try:

  • Beginning a demo with some icebreakers to get to know your audience before diving into the discussion
  • Implementing a chat feature during your demonstration so that you clients won’t forget their questions or put their feedback on pause for fear of interrupting you or your team
  • Creating a friendly competition that your customers can participate in to build energy during your discussion 
  • Ask for anonymous feedback after presenting in order to address concerns and questions

Since 96% of unhappy customers don’t complain and 91% of them will simply leave and never come back, it’s crucial to request their comments before they churn!

3. Practice Customer Appreciation!

After receiving your partners’ feedback, be sure to demonstrate your gratitude for their opinions and their time. Since research has shown that recipients of emailed expressions of gratitude feel noticeably more “ecstatic” afterwards, these gestures will put you in a prime position for favorable conversations in the future.

Practicing customer appreciation doesn’t have to be grandiose. Some examples of how you can show your clients that you appreciate their continued business include: 

1.) Sharing a thoughtful thank you note with them after:

  • A phone call, meeting, or lengthy email exchange

2.) Recognizing them once they’ve: 

  • Interacted with your product
  • Referred your product or services
  • Exceeded your expectations
  • Renewed or expanded their contract

3.) Sending appreciative gestures, such as:

Practicing customer appreciation will not only add additional entry points for conversation and provoke responses, but acknowledging your clients on a regular basis will help you to reinforce these relationships in the long run.

Strengthen Your Client Relationships as 2021 Progresses

By incorporating EQ when approaching your client relationships and adding in a few dashes of gratitude, not only will your customers feel valued, but they’ll be genuinely excited to continue doing business with you and your organization.  

And, as you practice regular customer appreciation throughout 2021, you can guarantee that your relationships with your current partners remain strengthened while the year unfolds. 

The simplest way to strengthen your customer relationships is by saying Thnks. Within seconds, you can send your clients and customers gestures of appreciation by searching for a grateful gesture, personalizing a note, and sending it off via SMS or email. Interested in learning more? Sign up for a demo!