Don’t be afraid to get intimate with your customers. No, that doesn’t mean giving them red roses and candle-lit dinners. It means establishing a close, long-term relationship with your customers, so they feel seen, heard, and appreciated.
While customer intimacy is beneficial for all industries and business models, it is a crucial practice for B2B companies that thrive off of long-term partnerships instead of one-off purchases.
Customer intimacy is catering to customers and potential customer needs, wants, and opinions. It is putting a focus on relationship marketing and fostering long-term client relationships and customer lifetime value. This strategy includes close customer communication and resource creation to help customers get the most out of the products or services.
How can you create customer intimacy in your customer journey?
Before you can impress your customer, you need to understand your customer. You need to understand WHO you are catering to, WHAT the issue they experience is, and HOW your product or service addresses that problem. And how can your product or service address that issue? At your core, this is what you should always refer back to at every stage of business growth.
Including customer research in your business model means before rolling anything new out, or even considering a new addition to your offerings, you must refer back to those core questions. Understanding your customer, pain points, and where your product fits into the solution will always help you communicate with your customer that you are constantly improving and in tune with their needs.
Listen to what your current and potential customers think of your product. For current customers, you can reach out with a simple survey to determine what they like about your offerings, what they think can improve, and what they want to see in the future.
For potential customers, you can conduct a sentiment analysis of your contact form submissions. Take inventory of what patterns you see in the contact form content, and what questions or requests commonly surface.
Communicate continuous product research and improvements. Letting your current customers know of product or service updates will tell them that you have a vested interest in improving their experiences with your company. This can increase product trust, customer satisfaction, and communication for eventual product improvements.
Act on the advice you receive from customers and continue conversations with especially vocal customers. The customers that are taking time to tell you what improvements they’d like to see deserve to be kept in the loop. If you act on any functionality requests from loyal customers, reach out to them when that happens to thank them for their input, and offer a sneak preview.
When you act on survey responses to improve products, send a follow-up message to let them know how their involvement impacted future products. Communication creates accountability for your clients – they are invested in your offerings like a member of the team. By continuing the conversation and showing the impact of their response, they’ll be more likely to respond in the future, or even refer to other clients.
Spreading good vibes creates more good vibes. If you have client wins, share them! Sharing positive reviews and case studies not only offers a channel of intimate communication but also reminds your customers of the positive impact your relationship had on their company.
Whatever you have to communicate these wins, promote this content. From client experience stories to partner interviews to ambassador content, including these messages in your content and inbound marketing strategy will show the strong relationships you have with your clients.
This type of content communicates that clients are more than business, and their successes are your successes. For current clients, this reinforces why they decided to invest in your product. For potential clients, it paints a picture of the strong community they could be a part of if they also invest in your product or services.
Creating customer training resources is a great opportunity for anyone, but especially companies that offer many services or a robust product.
Many software companies deal with the same issue – that customers don’t know how to get the most out of their product. This common problem can impact a client’s confidence in the software, and they could feel limited in what they can accomplish with the investment. Fear of the unknown is a human instinct, and you need to combat it with easy to follow information to increase confidence.
You can combat the fear of the unknown through tutorials, articles, downloadable content, videos, podcasts, or however you want to share how to best leverage your offerings. The educational content in any form will be key in turning your customers into product experts.
When a customer becomes an expert in a product, they will be able to experience the full potential of the product and the opportunities it offers. Customers will feel much more product satisfaction and feel comfortable recommending to peers.
While this content is mostly targeting current customers, it can have a positive impact on gaining the attention of new customers as well. There is SEO value in creating consistent expert content that can help you reach new audiences. This consistent content establishes domain expertise and will improve your search engine rankings. What a cherry on top!
If you’ve already incorporated the above advice into your business model, chances are you have a pool of customers who are active supporters of your offerings. This group of enthusiastic customers can use their personal and professional channels to help you reach new audiences.
Create an exclusive loyalty program where your most engaged customers can have first grabs at new products or updates, learn how to best leverage the product or service, and become brand ambassadors. This is another way you can foster customer accountability and strengthen your customer’s relationship with your brand. When they feel a part of the team, they will feel the responsibility to spread how they have benefitted from your brand.
You may think that your company isn’t big enough to gain ambassadors, but the program can be as large or small as you need, and can naturally grow with your company. The key is to impress your customers from the start to grow enthusiasm and loyalty with your client base. If your current customers are confident in the offerings of your company, they will be more likely to recommend your company to others.
Being able to offer an in-person conversation or even just digital face-to-face is a valuable gem when most B2B communication happens through typing. When people remember that there is a human behind the curtain, they are more likely to grow a personal relationship with the company and gain important points of contact to use.
Foster these relationships through having a presence at relevant conferences, offering in-person meetings with select clients, or hosting an event for customers to attend. Some options make sense for all sizes of customer pools. Want to create that relationship, but can’t meet in-person? Set up zoom calls or any other digital communication that allows for face-to-face conversation.
These personal relationships can have a widespread, lasting benefit for your communication strategy. Personal relationships can minimize negative reviews and product disappointment voiced on public platforms, and instead, customers can work through concerns with their connections within your company.
These relationships are also valuable for uncovering what functionalities customers hope to see in the future, and where the current product or service can improve in a casual setting. A personal conversation can provide more context into why they want to see a change, which will give you valuable insight into how a customer is using your offerings.
Are you ready to engage and impress your customers both pre and post-purchase? If you need help discovering and implementing the long-term value you can offer to your customers, reach out to our team!