How to Build Good Relationships With Your Customers

business man speaking with his clients

Last Updated April 30, 2024

Of the many things that will affect the bottom line of your business, few are more important than building relationships with customers. Your ability to build and maintain relationships with customers will make all the difference in your ability to achieve sustainable long-term growth.

With strong customer relationships, you’ll enjoy higher levels of client satisfaction and retention. You’ll generate good word of mouth for your business. And you’ll have a loyal customer base who will stick by you for the long haul. Customer relationship building should be a top priority for any business, no matter the industry.

Why Building Relationships With Customers Is Important

The importance of building customer relationships cannot be understated. Just consider how effective your sales efforts can be with good client relationship building. While businesses only have a 5-20% chance of selling to a new prospect, they have a 60-70% chance of selling to an existing customer who they already have a good relationship with.

A customer-centric company that focuses on building strong relationships can be as much as 60% more profitable than competitors that don’t focus on their customers—and even increasing your retention by 2% can have the same financial impact on your business as cutting costs by 10%.

Ensuring positive customer relations will have a bigger impact on your bottom line than many other activities, so taking steps to create positive customer experiences and build strong relationships should be a key element of your business strategy.

Customer Relationship Best Practices

Not sure how to build relationships with customers? You don’t have to go overboard with outlandish initiatives. Focusing on delivering high-quality products or services and offering a streamlined experience with each interaction is crucial in building and maintaining customer relationships.

1. Send Invoices Quickly

When working with B2B clients, one simple way to improve their experience and build a stronger relationship is to send invoices quickly for all rendered services. Sending an e-invoice can be especially convenient, as sending your invoices digitally will ensure faster receipt and (often) easier payment.

Make sure your invoice includes all necessary information, such as what services were provided, the total amount owed, payment terms, and payment instructions. Your invoice should be formatted in a way that makes it easy for clients to read and understand. This helps prevent any confusion on their end, while also ensuring that you’ll be paid in a timely manner.

2. Offer Quick and Easy Payment Options (Including Early Payment Discounts)

As part of your invoicing process, make sure to offer quick and easy payment options for your clients. Allowing for multiple payment options (such as ACH or a business credit card) will enable clients to pay in the manner that is most convenient for their own financial systems and cash flow.

You can also build stronger customer relationships by offering early payment discounts as an incentive to pay invoices early. For example, you could offer 1/10 net 30 terms, in which clients get a 1% discount on services if they pay within 10 days of receiving the invoice. Or, you could offer 2/10 net 30 terms, giving a 2% discount for the same early payment timeframe. The potential for discounts will encourage timely payments and repeat business.

3. Use Software to Manage Client Needs

As your client base grows, it can be all too easy for a client to slip through the cracks. A variety of software programs can help you manage the needs of all of your clients and keep everything on track to deliver positive customer experiences.

For example, accounts receivable management software makes it easy to manage customer data such as payment information and contact information, while also helping automate processes like invoicing and follow up. CRM systems help track customer conversations so you can be aware of when you last communicated with a customer and be more proactive about following up.
Using a variety of tools to streamline communications and business operations will help you stay top of mind with your customers and maintain positive customer relations.

4. Communicate in a Professional Manner

For better or worse, how you communicate is foundational in building customer relationships. This can be especially important when things go wrong, like when a client hasn’t paid an outstanding invoice, or when a customer complains about the quality of the service they received.

Regardless of the situation, you should strive to always maintain a positive, professional tone. Expressing genuine care and a desire to amicably resolve the situation will keep a negative situation from snowballing.

A proactive approach to communication can also help. For example, having email templates for asking for payment can help you proactively address payment concerns, rather than waiting for a client to miss their due date.

5. Become an Active Listener

As part of your efforts to communicate professionally with your customers, you should also work on becoming an active listener. Regardless of whether a customer has a question, complaint, concern, or just general feedback, your response needs to be appropriate to the situation and demonstrate empathy.

To be an active listener, you must pay close attention to what the customer is saying (and how they’re saying it). Ask questions if needed to better understand their perspective and the full context of the situation. By taking time to carefully listen, you can provide a more thoughtful response that better meets the needs of each customer.

6. Reward Loyalty

In practically every industry, finding ways to reward loyalty can be a real game changer in building customer relationships. In fact, 78% of customers say loyalty programs make them more likely to do business with brands. And 74% of customers say they are more likely to recommend brands with good loyalty programs.

Rewarding your clients for their loyalty creates goodwill and fosters further loyalty. While the specifics will vary from company to company, incentives (like discounts or rewards points), tiered memberships, and premium memberships are often effective elements of loyalty programs. Finding unique ways to thank your most loyal customers—like a personalized gift or card—can also show just how much you value your relationship.

7. Train Your Team

As your business grows, you probably won’t be engaging with each of your customers on a one-on-one basis. When “outsourcing” customer interactions to other team members, make sure they are fully trained in how to provide top-quality customer care. Emphasize active listening and communication skills.

You should also train employees to be proactive in addressing customer needs. Following up promptly to customer communications and knowing when to reach out to clients can go a long way in building a stronger rapport with clients. Make customer relationships a core part of your company culture so that this becomes a priority for everyone, no matter what their role.

8. Personalize Your Offerings

Personalizing your service offerings and interactions can help your company go from being “just another brand” to a trusted partner. By truly getting to know your customers and their needs and preferences, you can provide better recommendations and tailor your services in a way that will solve their specific pain points. A personalized level of service will stand out from other cookie-cutter brands and demonstrate your commitment to their success.

Personalization should be part of every interaction with your customers. Even something as simple as addressing customers by name in a follow-up email or adjusting your discount offers based on past interactions will help you demonstrate that you understand what matters most to them. This helps them feel seen and appreciated by your company so you can win their trust and loyalty.

9. Be Consistent

At the end of the day, few things are more important for customer relationships than consistently providing high-quality products or services. This is why your customers choose to do business with you in the first place. It doesn’t matter how professional your team is—if your services don’t meet expectations, you won’t be able to build and maintain relationships with customers.
Aside from seeking continuous improvement with your own processes, products, and services, be sure to regularly seek feedback from current and former customers. Use their insights to find ways to improve so that you can deliver quality results that solve their problems. By proving your dependability over time, your customer relationships will thrive.

In Summary: What Is the Key to Building Lasting Customer Relationships?

If you’re trying to figure out how to build a good relationship with your customers, remember that success in this area ultimately comes down to a few key principles. First, you must consistently provide high-quality products or services. Second, you must try to streamline the customer experience as much as possible—in everything from submitting payment to submitting a request or getting an answer to a question. Finally, you must become a strong communicator. This includes active listening so you can truly understand customer needs and personalize your offerings accordingly.

By focusing on these key areas, you’ll be better able to serve your customers and build the foundation for lasting relationships.