Businesses are often dependent on getting top-quality inventory and services on time, making vendor relationships absolutely essential. So, when businesses find vendors that they love, they tend to stick with them.
If you want to build and retain your own pool of loyal customers, you need to put in the hard work necessary to meet their expectations and thereby strengthen your relationships. In this blog post, we’ll discuss five ways you can make that a reality.
Building a solid relationship with your B2B customers
Business customers value their relationships with vendors and typically want to invest in a long-standing connection that won’t end after their first purchase.
80% of business-to-business (B2B) buyers feel that their relationship with their vendor influences their purchase decisions. What’s more, a whopping 84% of businesses said that they would buy from a supplier they had a great relationship with, even if the business terms were not ideal.
It’s also worth noting that with close relationships with regular customers come increased efficiency and cost reduction from decreased marketing efforts. These are just a few reasons why it’s worth going that extra mile to strengthen your relationships with B2B customers.
Here are five ways to improve and sustain customer relationships.
#1: Create a buyer’s persona
You can best serve your customers if you understand exactly who they are and what they need. Developing a buyer’s persona (or several personas) means mapping out details about your likely customers, such as their ages, locations, gender identities, hobbies, and income levels. Detailed personas will help you understand your customers’ needs.
You will likely interact and communicate differently with women in their early twenties than with men in their late fifties. The best buyer personas are based on market research and insights you collect from real customers. This can be done through face-to-face interviews and online surveys.
#2: Ask for feedback
For your business to thrive, you must first identify any issues your customers face when using your services. Asking them directly what challenges they experience is a great place to start.
What isn’t working for them? Where are their pain points when they buy from you? What do they want to see more of?
Once you identify the issues at hand, you’ll have a much easier time generating solutions. And your customers will undoubtedly notice and appreciate your attentiveness and care.
Remember to pay close attention to the feedback you receive, both the good and the bad. Positive feedback can reinforce what you’re doing, while negative feedback can help you identify areas for improvement.
Make sure customers can freely and easily leave you feedback on your website and social channels. Afterall, your customers are your greatest teachers.
#3: Be honest
Above all, customers appreciate when the companies they do business with showcase honesty and transparency. Speak openly about your products and services, highlighting their pros without hiding any cons. This helps set the right expectations and ensures that no surprises arise.
Also remember that if you make a mistake and don’t take accountability, you might be perceived as dishonest or shady. When you own up to your mistakes, customers appreciate and respect your honesty and integrity.
#4: Improve response times
The faster you respond to emails and phone calls, the more your customers will feel seen, heard, and paid attention to. In fact, research shows that vendor responsiveness and attentiveness in the buying process had greater influence on customer loyalty than cost reduction. In other words, this simple gesture will go a long way.
#5: Provide frictionless transactions
Business customers can’t afford to waste time on inefficient payment processes—after all, they have a business to run!
What they expect is a smooth transaction that doesn’t require them to pull out a checkbook or wait on hold over the phone to make a credit card payment. This is where B2B payment platforms like Melio come in.
By managing your accounts receivable (AR) with Melio, you can send your customers payment requests via email and they can pay online in just a few clicks.
They can even choose a payment method that works for them—a free ACH bank transfer or a debit or credit card payment for a small fee—without affecting how you get paid. They also don’t have to sign up to pay you. Simply input their payment details and hit the confirm and schedule button.
You’ve got this
Meeting customer expectations and strengthening relationships isn’t always easy, but it is certainly within arms reach. If you take the above five strategies to heart, you’ll have a loyal customer base in no time.
*This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice.
**Melio does not provide legal, tax or accounting advice, and you should consult with a professional advisor before making any financial decisions.