How to Build Customer Relationships

September 6, 2012 - Get free updates of new posts here
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How many times do you give money to homeless people on the street?

What if I were to make a post that asked for $1 from you?  Of course you’d do it.

What if your parent asked you for $20?

What if your lover / significant-other / best-friend needed $1000?

Recently my awesome brother was buying a house and called me on a Sunday night asking for $140,000!!!!

UH FUCK! Good to talk to you too Seth :)

Seth Kagan at his wedding

(Seth at his wedding)

Now realize, we’ve spent 30 years together, have the same blood type and have gone through some adversity together (see book Click, adversity is a way people “click” faster)

What kind of relationship do you have with your customers?

I’m guessing you haven’t dated the same girl (Seth and I did :) )

Imagine the experience of a potential customer of yours.

1- Hears about your site from a tweet, friend, email-forward or advertisement, etc…

2- Clicks the link and goes to your site.

3- Spends 15 seconds trying to figure out what you actually do. (Note: it is almost always different than what you think)

4- Browses around to a section that seems interesting and reviews the product in detail.

5- Searches your company + the word scam or review in google. Sees nothing.

6- Comes back and then evaluates if what you are offering really solves their problem and is worth $25 / month.

7- Goes off to lunch

8- Comes back full-and-bloated and is now browsing Reddit.

—- 60 minutes later —-

9- Boss walks by so they are back to your product and nervously get out their wallet.

10- Purchase made and now they evaluate whether your PROMISE meets THEIR expectations.

—- Purchase finally completed —-

Think of all the steps that goes through in making the purchase decision.

This person does NOT know you at ALL.

Think to yourself, what have you done to build a relationship and TRUST so the customer wants to spend money with you.

One of the reasons I love when people refund is that it gives companies a chance to show what they stand for. It also builds trust with the company when you actually get your money back when you’re unhappy.

AppSumo stands behind our lifetime return policy and responds quickly. Ideally we don’t have refunds since people are getting more than what they want but if we miss the mark, I want them to know they can count on us. Not the best first date but could be worse :P

The internet MISSES out on what’s awesome about retail. People. Well, a good retail store or restaurant with well trained staff.

They get the chance to listen to the person, look them in the eye (this is related to trust) and respond accordingly.

So…What can you do online to build a relationship?

1- Live-chat. Add an option like Snap Engage or Olark.

2- Be yourself. Use language that you’d expect to read on a website. No one wants corporate speak.

3- Observe. Watch random people use your site and ask them to speak out loud. I was shocked at Facebook and Mint when I did this. Consider using Usertesting.com or another service.

4- Connect. Easily offer ways for your visitors to connect with you (email, phone, Skype, twitter, snail mail, chat-room).

5- Value. Don’t ask for money, offer value upfront. Think about dating a girl, you generally do a first date or two before you go to first base.

6- Listen. ALL feedback is good. Positive or negative it is something you can learn from. I see SO many companies scared to actually reach out and listen to their customers.

What are you doing to build a REAL relationship with your customers?

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7 responses to “How to Build Customer Relationships

  1. Paul Reply

    Awesome article…I agree with pretty much all of it and thought I’d add a comment about “value”

    I truly believe that “value” is a biggie and one of the things that anyone can do whether they are selling a product or a service is to try and provide 10X the value of what your customer pays. It’s easier said than done but if you can deliver 10 times the value, good sh*t is going to happen.

    Thanks for the link to usertesting, I hadn’t seen that before and will definitely be checking them out.

  2. Greg Hickman Reply

    Hey dude! Great post.

    Seeing as how I’ve kept up with your Appsumo journey and even chatted with you live from the appsumo site in the early days (I’m sure you remember those days) I learned a few things from you in regards to this topic.

    With my new project I’ve been personally reaching out to as many people that have signed up for my newsletter to get a better sense of what they are looking for from me and the web show I’m producing.

    My auto responder accomplishes some of this but I still reach out to many of them thanking them for joining me in the journey as well as ask a few questions to gauge what it is they expect out of the show/emails so that I can better deliver content that is relevant.

    It’s amazing how much it works. I never thought anyone would response and although I wish more people responded when I reached out I’ve still gotten some great feedback which has made certain decisions much easier.

    I’ve even skyped a few to answer questions that were not easy to just answer via email.

    Probably would have never thought to do that if it hadn’t been for me chatting with you via snap engage considering a deal on appsumo.

    Great hustle man, it’s been exciting to see you grow and look forward to catching up soon!

    cheers,
    greg

  3. Joseph Reply

    First of all I would like to say excellent blog! I had a quick question in
    which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing. I’ve had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out
    there. I do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin.
    Any ideas or tips? Many thanks!

  4. Mike Glezos Reply

    Love Snap Engage, we connect, we listen times 10!

    Case and point, a customer of ours demanding a refund today just gave me a four star rating on Yelp with an awesome positive comment.

    LOVIN IT DUDE !!!!!!!!!!

    Against the better wishes of my team I’ve enforced a “refund for no questions asked” policy and our company has only a 5% refund percentage.

    The power of guilt works wonders especially if your price point is reasonable.

    I’ll leave my business name out so I don’t seem spammy and to help reinforce to your readers that “Customers are KING!”

    Cheers,

    Mike Glezos