9 Obstacles To Building Long-Term Relationships With Your Customers

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This, my friends is an obstacle aka a road block.

I recently had the privilege of presenting to a group of MBA students in a marketing class about ways companies can build long-term relationships with their customers.  Most of what I shared was based on experiences I’ve had over the last year of writing this blog.  Before we talk about some strategies, allow me to first outline some of the obstacles to building these relationships.

  • Poor Quality and Instability- Customers need a product or service that is reliable and trustworthy.  If they cannot depend on your company they will have no choice but to find another.
  • Inconsistent Communication- Communication with customers needs to be top notch on all levels and this includes any automated communication.  For example, if you have an automated email that can be construed as unfriendly or threatening, turn it off or change it.
  • Long Wait Times- Customers do not want to wait on hold for a long time even if the service they receive in the end does happen to be awesome.  Your aim should be to make reaching customer service convenient for the customer and not the other way around.
  • Inconsistent Service- Customers should receive the same correct information regardless of who they talk to or what they read on your website.  Failure to be consistent makes it difficult to trust a company.
  • Poor Billing Practices- Money is really important to your customers so any charges that are more than what they expect can be very damaging to that relationship.
  • No One Listening To Customers- Customers give you tons and tons of information about your service.  Failure to listen to that is not good.
  • No One Appreciating Customers- If you do not take the time to appreciate your customers, someone else will.  The way customers feel about your company significantly determines how loyal they will be.
  • Not Measuring Performance- If you don’t have any KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) how can you tell if you got better or worse?
  • Culture/Mission/Vision Stuff- Everyone in your organization needs to be on the same page and working toward the same goal.  This also cannot be lip service.  If your company says one thing and does another, that causes a major problem.

You will notice as you read this list that it all boils down to the customer experience.  Poor and inconsistent customer experiences present major obstacles to building and maintaining long-term relationships with your customers.  Is there anything you would add to my list?

Stay tuned for my next post where I will present strategies for building and keeping long-term relationships with your customers.

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Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Experience at FCR, the premiere provider of outsourced call center and business process solutions. He has more than 17 years of experience as a customer service and experience professional. He is co-founder of the Customer Service Life blog and a regular contributor. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

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