How to build genuine relationships with your customers

How to build genuine relationships with your customers

June 12, 2024

Your customers span a wide spectrum, ranging from first-time buyers to those that have been loyal for decades.

But how many of these are genuine relationships? Ones that transcend the transactional?

Postal’s gifting platform is focused on the premise that genuine relationships reap long-term benefits - like accelerating the timeline to speak with a customer, increasing their attendance rate at your event, or increasing the amount who renew for another year.

And how does Postal facilitate the formation of genuine relationships? Through the age-old action of sending someone a physical gift to show that you care and remember their interests. Good customer relationships open up a world of benefits for businesses: higher customer lifetime value (CLV), better customer retention, and stronger brand loyalty, just to name a few.

Postal’s gifting platform is one tool for facilitating genuine customer relationships. By sending a personalized gift, you are able to put into practice strategies that build genuine relationships. In this guide, we cover nine of these strategies that are enabled through Postal.

1. Understand your customer

Close friends aren’t made overnight. Building deep relationships takes time and effort to understand a person below the surface.

The same is true for building long-lasting customer relationships—they’re built on a foundation of understanding. You need to get to know their specific needs, preferences, and pain points. More important than knowing what they’ve purchased is understanding why they chose your product or service in the first place. This may be a reason outside of your product's features. It may be because they trusted your salesperson or felt a personal tie to your company’s executive team. People like people who are similar to them - so get to know the why behind their purchasing decisions.

Few businesses have the bandwidth for a one-hour sitdown with each customer on a weekly basis. Fortunately, there are other ways to build a deep understanding of your existing customers.

Mapping out the customer journey is one of them. This helps you visualize every interaction, from the moment they discover your brand to their post-purchase experience. Understanding what their experience is like with your brand can reveal opportunities. The more touch points during the journey, the more chances the customer has to speak to an internal employee who they relate to. Relatability can close deals.

Actively listening to your customers through social media posts and surveys is another great way to get to know them better. The data points you gain through these channels can be collected and analyzed with CRM software and data enrichment tools to identify similarities and characteristics that tie you to them.

Through all of these data points that help create the persona of your customer, you should be able to identify one key fact that ties into a gift to send. Sending a personalized gift will emphasize that you were listening to the customer during all of the touch points, and you took the time to find something that resonates.

2. Show you genuinely care about your customers

Marketing entrepreneur Jason Langella famously said that “if you don't appreciate your customers, someone else will.”

It might sound cliché, but genuine care for customers is a common trait among successful businesses. It’s the foundation of a lasting relationship—when we feel cared for, we form an emotional bond with that person or organization.

Personalized communication is key here. Take every opportunity to address customers by name in your messaging. Also be sure to tailor your communications based on their interests by referencing past interactions.

Empathetic customer support is also a must. If customers are taking time out of their day to call your support center, they’re probably stressed about an issue they’re having. Train your support team to actively listen to what they’re saying, and offer tailored solutions that can resolve their problem ASAP.

And don’t forget to engage on social media. Your customers probably spend a lot of time there, and engaging with them via thoughtful responses to comments, questions, and reviews reinforces your commitment to keeping them happy.

Regardless of the reason a customer contacts you - good or bad - it never hurts to follow up with a gift to say thank you for either choosing to be a happy customer of your company or bringing an issue to your attention to help you improve. You can always find a way to turn a negative into a positive lasting impression.

3. Value the customer experience

Customer interactions come in all shapes and sizes these days. Online or offline, these touchpoints shape the perception of your brand.

Businesses with strong customer relationships prioritize personalized experiences across all these touchpoints. If you only prioritize a few of them, you risk creating a disjointed and frustrating customer journey.

Work to craft a cohesive omnichannel experience that aligns with your brand's values. Your website, social media accounts, and educational content should all look and feel the same.

Part of that cohesion can come from your actions also being consistent. If you send a new prospect a gift before your sales pitch, consider sending a different gift once they have successfully onboarded as a new customer. Show them that you value them the same whether you are wanting their business or already have their business.

4. Invest time and effort in customer care

If buyers feel kicked to the curb after their purchase is complete, you’ll never enjoy strong customer relations. Following up after a purchase (or other interactions) shows that you value customer feedback and are committed to their satisfaction.

Expressing gratitude via personalized thank-you notes, birthday wishes, or exclusive discounts is also a nice touch that helps build a sense of loyalty and goodwill. You can take this a step further through a loyalty program, which both rewards customers for their business and incentivizes repeat purchases through points, discounts, or early access to new products.

Responsive customer support is also non-negotiable. Chatbots are a great way to ensure customers can get answers to their questions 24/7, but sometimes, a human is needed to resolve complex issues.

The key to taking the “transaction” premise out of the customer relationship is expressing to them that they have the same value in your eyes whether you are earning their money or already have their money.

5. Personalize your communication

Everyone likes being called by their name. Addressing customers by name is an easy way to foster goodwill and show that you’re treating them as a unique individual, not just another patron. But with the current tools for automated personalization, first name usage isn’t going to set you apart enough.

Modern capabilities allow you to take personalization much further. Leverage data from your CRM to segment your customer base based on relevant buckets like demographics, desires, purchase history, industry, and role. Then, craft targeted messages that resonate with these particular groups. Even if the entire message isn’t written just for them, customers will appreciate that you took the time to consider their interests and pain points.

With Postal, you can also create gift collections that resonate with your different customer segments. And if you don’t have time to spend curating the collections, we even offer pre-selected collections suitable for different personas. For instance we have a collection of gifts proven to be successful engagement tactics when sent to executives at companies.

6. Reward customer loyalty

The longer a customer positively experiences your company, the stronger their tie to your product becomes. Rewarding customers who have stayed with your product adds additional strength to their affinity for your brand and reinforces their commitment to you instead of competitors.

A tiered loyalty program is a great way to achieve this. When customers earn points or rewards with each purchase, they’re more likely to come back again and again. Offering exclusive perks to your most loyal customers, such as early access to sales, new product launches, or special events, further enhances their sense of exclusivity and appreciation.

Go the extra mile with your top-tier customers. Give them the VIP treatment—dedicated support lines, priority shipping, and access to have a community of other superusers who they can ask for best practices.

Finally, think about implementing a referral incentive program. This can transform loyal customers into brand advocates that spread positive word-of-mouth and bring in new business. You can use Postal to send a gift once a customer reaches a certain amount of referrals, celebrating their achievement.

7. Communicate consistently to build trust

The modern world is full of distractions. Even customers who love your brand can easily forget about you without regular reminders.

Consistent communication is the bedrock of brand awareness. A steady flow of targeted messaging ensures you remain at the forefront of your customers’ minds. Like anything genuine, make sure there is a good reason and value add for reaching out.

Regular newsletters are a great way to keep customers informed about new product launches, promotions, and company news. Be careful not to make them too salesy, though—too many low-quality emails will quickly be relegated to the junk folder.

Even transactional emails, like order confirmations and shipping notifications, are opportunities to build anticipation and excitement for an upcoming delivery.

Speaking of exciting deliveries, if your recipient has already successfully received a gift from you through Postal, you can use their contact information to send them a “surprise and delight” delivery without them even having to redeem it. Sometimes a little surprise is a nice way to change up your gifting efforts!

8. Ask for feedback and thank them for it

Customer feedback is an immensely valuable resource that too many businesses overlook. Listening to what your customers want, and making changes accordingly, is a shortcut to positive customer relationships. It takes the guesswork out of improvement.

A post-purchase survey is an easy lever to pull here. It should be quick and easy to fill out—the longer and more involved it is, the lower your response rates will be.

Be careful to not send out too many surveys. Asking customers for feedback at every touchpoint is overwhelming and can quickly backfire.

Asking for feedback is just the first step, though. You then need to act on it. Set up internal processes for soliciting customer feedback, analyzing it, then implementing changes based on it. Then strive to make this feedback loop work as quickly as possible.

Once you’ve made the improvement, it’s okay to brag about it while thanking the customer for their feedback that helped make the change. This shows them you actually listen to their feedback and hold their opinion highly and also removes their fear that the product was not working as they hoped. Consider sending a thank you gift with your email update as a token of appreciation. They’ll be left with a positive memory.

9. Focus on exceeding customer expectations

Merely meeting customer expectations is table stakes for keeping up with competitors. If you want to take the lead and build genuine connections, you’ve got to exceed them.

Sometimes, this can be achieved through the element of surprise. A complimentary upgrade or personalized gift can have an outsize impact on building positive associations with your brand.

Customers likely receive gifts from many companies for signing up. Stand out by sending them non-transactional gifts. For instance, send them a gift when they return from vacation to help them ease back into office life, or send them a celebratory gift on their work anniversary. It never hurts to show you care outside of the sales - customer relationship.

How Postal helps to build genuine customer relationships

As we learned during the pandemic, genuine relationships can’t be built solely through digital interactions. There’s something about tangible experiences that can never be replicated online.

Postal’s expertise lies in offline engagement. Through thoughtful gifts, direct mail campaigns, and other tangible tokens of appreciation, you can connect with your customers on a deeper level.

Postal removes the hassle from personalized gifting. Our platform can automatically send birthday presents, anniversary gifts, and more.

Stand out from the standard thank you email and actually show your customer you care about them as a person. Partner with Postal and take the first step towards building truly genuine relationships with your customers.

Keely Lords
Keely Lords

Keely Lords is the Brand Manager at Postal, the leading gifting platform for offline engagement that creates memorable moments for organizations to generate leads, increase sales velocity, and retain happy customers. Prior to Postal, Keely was a "jane of all trades" with roles in various industries including accounting and consulting at Deloitte, business operations for a technology start-up, and proposal writing for branded corporate events. She currently lives in Bakersfield (where her family has farmed for over 100 years) with her husband, Austin, and rescue dog, Polly.