You’d love to have an army of eager, passionate customers. The kind that tells anyone and everyone they meet about your business.
These customers are in love with your product or service.
They trust you implicitly, never haggling or complaining about price. They buy often, spending more money each time. They beg and fight for the opportunity to buy more of your products. These customers are known as “ideal customers.”
They’re a signal that a deep emotional connection has taken place. Some pundits believe something different. They believe these customer relationships are myths or fantasies.
They approach this topic with the wrong mindset.
In their world, you’re lucky if you can find a customer who’s willing to pay for your product or service.
Pretty bleak isn’t it?
This mindset comes across as needy and insecure. It’s almost as if they don’t believe their product is worth their asking price.
So it’s a good thing this isn’t true. Besides, you’re worth it, right? Of course you are.
Do your customers know that?
Your customers know you’re worth it when you…
… Supply them with the right ingredients. See, customers as a whole are selfish.
- “What’s in it for me?”
- “What have you done for me lately?”
- “How does this fix my problems?”
They’re selfish because they have to be.
Buying is dangerous. Customers are conditioned to be cautious. To be skeptical. They can be cheated out of their hard earned money, used and abused, neglected. It can be as simple as buying the wrong product.
Selfishness keeps them safe.
Most customers start the relationship here. They come to you with a problem or something they want from you. If they feel you’re trustworthy then and only then, do they decide to give you money.
Most customer relationships stay here.
Relationships without “connection” are selfish
When it comes to customer relationships there are two kinds:
- Constrained. I have to stay in this relationship.
- Dedicated. I want to stay in this relationship.
Constrained relationships: I have to stay
These relationships keep customers glued to your business, even when customers aren’t emotionally bonded to your business. A constrained relationship has three main ingredients.
- A desire to be in control. Customers want to maintain the status quo. Doing that keeps them in control and free from pain.
- Loss aversion and regret avoidance. Customers feel intense psychological pain from losing things they value or experiencing regret. Naturally these are powerful motivators.
- Sunk costs. Customers are motivated to maintain the status quo if they’ve spent a considerable amount of time or money on your product or service. The greater the psychological cost, the more likely customers are to stay.
Constrained relationships keep customers connected to your business, but it isn’t enough to create an “enviable” relationship with customers.
You’ll need to create…
Dedicated relationships: I want to stay
These relationships create emotional bonds that are deeply satisfying. They develop naturally when the right emotional incentives are in place. It’s no surprise then, that loyalty flows naturally from these relationships.
Which factors are most important?
- Admiration. This means customers admire what you stand for, who you are or what you do. How do you cultivate admiration in someone else? You do admirable things – serving in ways that matter to your audience.
- Benevolence. Customers see that you’ll provide them with the care, guidance and protection they need. You’ll act in their best interests.
- Expertise. You’re able to deliver the outcome or results you’ve promised, the way you promised. You deliver on time, at the price you promised, going above and beyond to surprise and delight your customers.
- Integrity. When the thoughts, feelings, words and actions of your business align. This shows customers you can be trusted giving them peace of mind and self forgetfulness.
This is great and all, but things get dicey when it’s time to apply all of this.
Great customer relationships begin with a moat
Warren Buffet popularized the idea of an economic moat. An economic moat makes it difficult for customers to leave and even more difficult for competitors to attack your business.
It shows customers they need you more than you need them.
But what do these moats look like?
- The brand moat. With the brand moat, customers are willing to pay more for your product or service because of what they get in return (e.g. prestige, reputation, quality, etc.).
- The secret moat. Intellectual property – copyrights, patents, trademarks, trade secrets – anything that fits into these categories makes it difficult for competitors to compete with you. Amazon’s one click, Google’s search algorithm and KFC’s secret recipe are all secrets.
- The toll moat. This means you have exclusive control over a market or niche. You’re the only game in town so if customers want it, they’ll have to come to you.
- The switching moat. Businesses with a strong switching moat are tangled up in their customer’s daily life. Google offers more than 250 products for free. Amazon continually adds free products and services to Amazon Prime. Customers fill these services with their data, making a separation incredibly difficult.
All of these moats start with an idea. Once these ideas are implemented, they morph into something powerful.
They give you an opening.
The opening you need to create enviable customer relationships.
You can develop enviable relationships with your customers, the kind where customers tell anyone and everyone they meet about your business.
The kind of customers who love your product or service.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if customers trusted you implicitly, never haggling or complaining about price? With the right idea customers will beg and fight for the opportunity to work with you…
If you build the right relationship.
Create the right idea and you’ll have an army of eager, passionate customers – no haggling or complaining required.