Have you ever wondered what is motivation for your customers becoming loyal fans of your business?
Do you ever find businesses that seem to have a following no matter where they go or what they offer?
What sets these businesses apart from the rest?
Through my years of working in corporate American and eventually running my own coaching and consulting business, I have learned to appreciate the value of relationships. Of course I am a firm believer of hard work and dedication, but there is something to be said about creating relationships with your customers.
I recently read an article on Harvard Business Review called the Three Myths about What Customers Want, written by Karen Freeman, Anna Bird, and Patrick Spenner. It is an interesting perspective about what customers want from data collected through market research.
What they discovered after surveying 7000 consumers, was only 23% of the people interviewed felt they had a relationship with a ‘brand’.
Each of the myths discussed in this article talk about relationships and how consumers really don’t need them to become a customer. In fact, they prefer avoiding the relationship if possible.
However, after you dig a little deeper into the article, it seems as if the term relationship needs to be defined.
In order for a relationship to be a healthy one, there needs to be two people involved. A one sided relationship, where someone is doing all the talking, without listening, is not considered strong.
People, whether they are customers, prospects, family, friends, or someone you meet walking on the street, want to feel heard.
There is nothing better in a conversation, than when someone really listens to what you have to say. This is true in building relationships in business as well.
If relationships in business are one sided, consisting of interaction, ie sales pitches, then of course consumers don’t want that. But if consumers feel that a company hears what they are saying and offers them what they really want, a healthy relationship will be formed.
For example, have you watched the new Domino’s marketing campaign over the last several years?
The first quarter after their launch in 2011, profits rose 33%! Why? Because they were transparent, open, and showed they were listening to their customers.
They were even reading customer complaints on T.V. advertisement!
Customers felt heard and have since built a strong relationship with the brand.
In order for relationship marketing to work, it needs to be authentic, two sided, and offer value. When that happens, whether the consumer knows it or not, brand loyalty forms, which is a hard relationship to break.
Do you agree? What is your experience with relationships to a brand? I’d love to hear. Comment below or visit us on Facebook and tell us what you think.