Investing In A Brand-Customer Relationship
Whether we want to admit it or not, the concept of relationships takes a central stage in our lives. As humans we are hard wired to continually search for closeness, love and interaction with other human beings.
After all, our wellbeing depends on the state of our relationships, especially the romantic ones. A number of psychological longitudinal studies reveal that the secret to happiness and longevity is secure functioning relationships.
Fortunately enough, when it comes to your business, a lot can be drawn from the psychology of the relationships that you can apply to your business strategies to win customers over and form long-standing relationships.
Investing in strong customer relationships should be at the top of your priorities
Losing customers is easy. Winning them over requires more than just fulfilling the functional needs. Thus, the psychological understanding of your customers makes a huge difference.
If the purpose of our intimate relationships is to be happy, to grow as an individual, then the purpose of building strong and deep relationships with your customers is to grow your business, to evolve your brand personality beyond the simple form of existence among your competitors.
As it happens then, forming strong relationships with your customers is one of the most important factors in gaining a competitive edge in the process of building a successful business.
Your ability as a brand to attract and engage customers permeate every part of your business
If personal relationships refer to close connections between people, formed by emotional bonds and interactions, as well as mutual experiences, then the commercial relationships can embrace the same dynamics only translated between the brand and the consumers.
After all humans are consumers, and consumers are humans!
This means that by creating an emotional attachment with your customers you can also create long-standing relationships.
"The key to navigating relationships successfully is staying present, attentive, and curios about the way your customers feel towards your brand"
And yes, just as we work on our intimate relationships, creating an emotional attachment and fostering rewarding customer relationships requires time, patience, attention and a personalised approach.
What does it take to attract and maintain successful relationships?
The matter of fact is, that the existence and growth of your business depends on the love your customers feel for your brand. Naturally, your customers are your priority but you need to dedicate time to connect with them on an emotional level.
There’s a caveat though.
Even if you achieve an emotional connection with your customers, there's no guarantee that your relationship will remain strong over time if you take it for granted.
Relationships are ongoing, they are a work in progress because people change and grow.
Just because your customers are opening their wallets in your store now doesn’t mean that they will continue to do so in future if you don’t pay them close and constant attention.
The key to navigating relationships successfully is staying present, attentive, and curios about the way your customers feel towards your brand.
This will certainly give you an opportunity to correct what’s not working while at the same time it will allow you to strengthen the strategies and actions that produce the desired outcomes.
Do you have an attractive brand personality?
Being attractive to your customers comes not just from the products and services you are selling, but it also comes from your brand personality. And, if we say that a brand has a personality, then that personality will have traits.
As consumers our brains are constantly scanning, more subconsciously than consciously, for brands with attractive brand personality traits. And certain traits are more desirable than others.
Which brand personality traits are the most attractive?
Trust, honesty, communication, connection and respect are some of the fundamental characteristics when it comes to not just building, but also maintaining strong brand-customer relationships.
Making your customers feel important and cared about is a human gem. Always show your customers that you’re listening and interested to learn how to better fulfil their needs and wants. Cultivate the ability to communicate in an inspiring, transparent and sincere way on all channels.
Winning repeat business is meeting expectations
Meet your customers’ expectations the best you can. We know, from our intimate relationships, that relationships fail when expectations are not met, when emotional and physical needs are not fulfilled.
Yes, your customers might be demanding with high expectations but once you understand that all relationships are a work in progress without exception, then you can better recognise that engaged customers are long-term customers.
The more you help personalise your interaction with your audience the more they’ll feel the exclusivity of your relationship. The best way you can achieve this is to be consistent on every channel – digital, physical, social media – in order to increase the interaction and engagement.
Remember, relationships start and grow when you give someone else your time and attention.
Zana Busby is a Director of Retail Reflections, Business & Consumer Psychologist and author of the book Life Equilibrium