It takes less effort and investment for a business to maintain an existing client than it does for it to cultivate a new one. But, creating a customer for life is no easy task. It takes hard work and commitment in order to establish the kinds of customer bonds that cannot be broken. While most business leaders recognize the value of consistently delighting their customers. Many don't know what it takes to create a business environment that yields customer relationships that "stick" forever.

Here are 7 essentials to keep your customers coming back for more:

  1. Create an Ingenuous Culture: Trust is an imperative to forging relationships that last a lifetime. That said, you must commit to forge a company culture built on mutual respect among staff and the undisputed integrity its leadership team in order to create the kind of company that customers can trust.
  2. Adopt an "Us-centered" Leadership Style: Staff must feel like their "In it together" in order to consistently deliver an exceptional customer experience. Make it a way of life in your company by adopting a leadership style that emphasizes the "us"-one where your people know that you have their back and that there are others in the Company that they can count on.
  3. Establish a Team-Based Operating Model: Flatter, more team-based operating models are far more nimble and agile than ones that are hierarchical and have managers managing managers within them. If you want to lock-in customers through improved responsiveness then move towards a flatter, team-based structure.
  4. Develop People to Delight: To keep customers coming back for more, your staff to be prepared to do whatever it takes to delight them. So, be sure to raise your team's awareness of this fact, by setting an unwavering example and helping them to delight by providing the necessary training and coaching.
  5. Design an Aligned Compensation Model: Be sure to align your compensation model with your vision for customer satisfaction. In this way, you can be sure that the "right" performance measurements have been instituted to attain the desired changes in behavior among your team. Measure and reward accordingly.
  6. Craft Customer-Centric Growth Propositions: Drive your business growth by delivering perceived value to your customers. Convert prospects into clients by working to gain a greater understanding of their needs and desires. Customers will gravitate and "stick" when they feel that you understand them and can deliver what they need on a consistent basis.
  7. Deliberately Build Brand Value: You want your business to be seen as one that keeps its promises, delivers results, provides flawless service and exceeds all expectations. Be deliberate in building those messages into your brand and back it up through action and execution.

To close, creating customer relationships that last a lifetime is the ultimate goal of every business. While these 7 "must haves" are no panacea, if taken to heart and acted upon, they can help you to create a business that builds unbreakable customer relationships-the kinds that help your company to prosper and to flourish for a lifetime.

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