Customer relations describes how your company engages with customers with respect to improving the customer experience. This involves overcoming short-term challenges and developing long-term solutions that ensure customer success. The goal is to build a mutually beneficial relationship that begins before, and exists long after, the initial purchase.
While customer relations involve all parts of the business, it is most closely associated with the customer service department. This means that the customer service, customer success, customer support, and product development teams must contribute to building and maintaining the customer relationship. Customer relations includes the company’s sales and marketing departments as well, as they interact with customers in numerous ways.
Customer relations consists of two functions:
Reactive functions: Addressing customers’ reported issues (e.g., replying to customer complaints, working with customer support).
Proactive functions: Building long-term relationships with customers and establishing brand loyalty (e.g., providing product information, promoting discounts and special offers).
Note that customer service and customer relations are not the same thing; customer service is part of customer relations. Customer service is an inbound function – your company provides customer service in response to customer actions (e.g., a customer calls for support with a product). Customer relations involves both inbound and outbound functions – your company reacts to customer requests for assistance, and takes action to improve future customer engagement (e.g., your company sets up a customer help desk to address future customer calls). Customer relations are proactive, with the goal of creating a better customer experience.
Importance of customer relationship management, customer relationship management is an essential part of ensuring the success of your business:
It helps to build a bond with customers, which reduces the amount of work involved in getting them to purchase from your company (compared to attracting new customers).
It increases the likelihood that customers will make additional future purchases.
It helps with building loyalty with your brand.
It provides customers with an image of your brand when they are looking for solutions to other issues, or when they are looking for options related to what you provide.
It helps with creating a stronger association between your company and the customers, which can help with smoothing over problems with products or in the customer relations process.
It encourages customers to promote your brand to friends, family members and colleagues, which will help to grow your business.
Key takeaway: Strong customer relations can improve brand loyalty and drive referrals, helping to grow your business.