6 Ways to Build Long Lasting Customer Relationships


In this age of consumerism, there’s a choice for every product. You alone do not hold a monopoly on your product so you must understand that the customer is king. For a business to be sustained and stay viable, the customer must always come first. Keeping them happy and returning for more is the ultimate goal for any business.

Several studies have shown that repeat customers buy significantly more on their visit than first time customers and repeat customers are also more likely to recommend you to someone close to them. In our current environment of increasing competition, building relationships with customers has now been brought into the spotlight and businesses are focusing a lot more of their attention on the matter.

Customers are real people with feelings and emotions, which can be tapped to establish a bond. Customers are not nameless faces on the Internet, nor are they faceless voices on the phone. For a business, each customer is a distinct individual who matters. As ad man extraordinaire David Ogily said, “The customer is not a moron. She is your wife.”

Show Them Respect

Customers are real people with real emotions. Each one is a distinct individual who matters; not one more than the other, but all of equal importance. You must establish a bond from the outset. Customers are crucial to the survival of your business and they deserve the best possible behavior.

In order for them to warm to you, you must show sincerity and be respectful to them and their needs. Carrying yourself in a mannerly and professional fashion will help you win their respect. This is the first step to thawing the ice.

Share Your Knowledge

Customers appreciate informative advice so if you are able to display your knowledge and expertise in your field, there is every chance they will warm to you. Staying professional in approach and demeanor are essential to success. The most widespread channel for knowledge sharing is the Internet. This is the biggest platform to show your customers that you are an expert in your chosen field.

Respond to Customer Queries

A customer’s query immediately answered builds goodwill and increases the chances of his returning for a purchase. Have a process in place to collect customer feedback and a way to log not only complaints, but also how you and your company respond to issues as they are reported so this can be replicated if the issue ever arises again.

This is not only the case for negative feedback. Businesses should also pay close attention to positive feedback. Not only do positive comments help tell a company what they are doing right but they also encourage others to take notice of them.

Reward Them

Customers feel rewarded when an exclusive offer is made to them, or to a select group of frequent customers. Not only does a loyalty program provide a practical, hard reason for continuing to buy (the accumulation of points towards a reward, or higher level of service) but it also provides information about the customers that allows their needs to be met more efficiently and effectively.

Rewarding existing customers for their continued loyalty will not only increase retention, but also increase the number of new customers your business brings in. This will occur through positive feedback from existing customers and also eye-catching loyalty deals, which will draw them in. Example of reward programs include loyalty programs, offering discounts on selected lines, point rewards, and also giving away free items with multiple purchases.

Be Active on Social Media

There is a new tool available called social customer relationship management or CRM. This tool has become one of the most important marketing tools for many businesses. It lets you make the most of your social media interactions by tying them in with a database and allowing you to manage the data easier.

Social networks are a great way to stay in touch with customers and build relationships. Through social media we get a front row seat into the latest developments of our customers’ lives and in doing so can begin to measure their needs. Facebook and Twitter are the most popular tools for business to interact through social media, so “Likes” and “Follows” are the first steps in building a customer relationship.

Comments on your business, or mentions in the industry you are in, can be used as valuable feedback and will determine how best to move forward. Frequently update your social media sites to try and garner some feedback and interaction from customers.

Always respond to criticism, don’t simply ignore it. You must show the world you are going to find a solution and are taking steps to eradicate the fault.


A successful networker knows that it is not just what s/he receives from others but what s/he gives that determines whether the networker is building solid relationships. The entire purpose of networking is to build solid, trusting relationships–business relationships that are of value to everyone involved.

You want your customers to feel that they are going to obtain something of value from your service. Networking will grow your business, attract long-lasting business associates, and develop a solid referral base for your business.


 Brian Cleary is the Chief Executive of County Tipperary Chamber of Commerce. He’s also the past director of Chambers Ireland. He writes for a number of online publications and is a regular co-presenter of the ‘Small Business Show’ a syndicated radio program broadcast on a number of stations throughout Ireland and available as a podcast. You can find him on Twitter @ChamberBrian.

May Member Profile – Island Radio – Gail Conrad

Island Radio – Gail Conrad

Nanaimo Radio Stations, The Wave 102.3 and The Wolf 106.9, are just two of six stations managed by Island Radio. A division of Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, Island Radio also serves communities in Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Port Alberni, and the Comox Valley/Campbell River area.

Radio can be very relevant for a company’s marketing mix. It’s heard everywhere; in the car, from a computer, even while shopping or dining. Radio reaches consumers immediately.

Advertising on the radio is often a new experience for business owners. But, they soon see that sound activates imagination, creating an emotional landscape. That can be powerful when enticing people to engage with an advertiser.

With the help of Island Radio’s award-winning creative team, the sales group helps businesses create compelling advertising campaigns. Respectful of budget and advertising objectives, the whole Island Radio team genuinely care that the customer gets the results they’re looking for.

Customers are surprised to find out how easy Island Radio makes the process for them. They get excited when they hear their commercial on air, and feel pride in being a part of its creation after they get feedback from friends, family, and colleagues.

Besides an emphasis on providing quality service to their advertising customers, Island Radio is highly recognized for their local involvement to support community causes, and charitable events. Staff and on-air personalities give a lot of their time, and this year Daryl Major, Nanaimo News Director and Announcer, is one of the media riders in the Tour de Rock.

Island Radio continually looks for ways to improve, and prides itself in building long-term relationships with customers, and community partners, to help them achieve the results they are looking for.

For Chamber Members who are curious about how radio can help their business, event, or non-profit group, account executive Gail Conrad would welcome a conversation. Contact Gail at gconrad@islandradio.bc.ca.

Written by Bonnie Chomica,


City Works

Recently, Nanaimo City Council announced they were introducing a “Portfolio System” that will see each member of Council assigned to rotating ‘duty’ with each of nine departments. It was designed to provide Councillors an opportunity to gain insight, knowledge and expertise while they become more familiar with the services provided by city staff. Additional changes in governance include a greater role for the City’s rotating Acting Mayors.

The nine portfolios are as follows:
* Culture, Heritage and Strategic Relationships
* Parks, Recreation and Environment
* Information Technology, Legislative Services and Communications
* Finance
* Community Development
* Social and Protective Services
* Nanaimo Fire Rescue
* Engineering and Public Works

In the Chamber’s opinion… the more that Council members can be exposed to the inner workings of the corporation and its various functions and responsibilities, the more informed they will be when it comes to decision-making.

But there is also a grey area between integration of a ‘board of directors’ with operations where micro-management lurks. I trust the new CAO has an eye open for that and has structured the Portfolio System so as to avoid that prospect. We look forward to the City’s next progress report on this venture and will report back to our readers then.


Click here to link to City Release and further Information: http://bit.ly/1qmCkYi

Member Profile – James Young – Inn on Long Lake

Inn on Long Lake logo colour version on white

James Young – Inn on Long Lake

When people arrive at the Inn on Long Lake, they are pleasantly surprised to see that it is actually on a lake. All bedrooms face the water, so guests can find a special place to de-stress after a long ferry ride, or a jam-packed business day. With a morning coffee on their balcony, they can watch the sun rise over the lake.

For nine months of the year, general manager James Young and his team cater mostly to business travelers. Each room has a desk and free WiFi, plus a fridge, microwave and Keurig coffee machine. An extensive breakfast is available in the lounge, including house-made baked goods and treats.

Many are repeat guests.  Some for over 20 years. Being a small property, Inn personnel can personalize service and build relationships with their clientele. Everybody gets involved with serving guests, particularly front desk and housekeeping staff, who know guests preferences and even their pets’ names.

Besides housing the weary business traveller, the Inn on Long Lake also has meeting facilities. Three rooms can host from five to fifty people, and are perfect for training, luncheons, and small conferences. Catering can be arranged for any variety of food and beverage needs.

This proudly, independent property has been family owned for 25 years. With no chain or franchise rules, the Inn offers a unique personality and character. Owners have recently invested in significant renovations to all guest rooms, showing their commitment to a quality experience for their guests.

Whether staying in a guest room, or using a meeting room, people feel like they’re out of town, in a little secret hideaway. James, and his Inn on Long Lake team, invite people to come and feel relaxed, calmed, and de-stressed, at this special lakeside resort in the city.


For more info – http://www.innonlonglake.com/

Written by Bonnie Chomica, www.MarketingDoneWrite.ca





March 31, 2016


The Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce offers its condolences and support to the 11 businesses whose premises and contents suffered a total loss in the fire at the Jean Burns Building in downtown Nanaimo yesterday. Similarly, the Chamber extends its to those businesses in neighbouring buildings who will face an interruption in their operations due to smoke, water and infrastructure damage.

Kim Smythe, Chamber President & CEO stated “Thankfully, no lives were lost or major injuries reported in this tragedy but several businesses lost everything. The Chamber has reached out to the DNBIA offering emotional and material support through them to the businesses. We are eager to help the community overcome the impact of this serious event with whatever is required.”

The DNBIA is currently assessing the status of operations of businesses facing collateral damage, including themselves. The Chamber is standing by to see how it can play a role in the recovery, what shape that will take, and what support is needed currently.

Smythe continued “Unfortunately, it’s tragedies like this that create opportunities for the community to shows its incredible spirit and network of support for each other. The outpouring of kindness is remarkable with people offering office and storage space, equipment and furnishings, and even free meals in the aftermath.”

The Chamber of Commerce is looking to other communities who have suffered similar events to see how help was best offered and recovery was most speedily achieved.

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CONTACT: Kim Smythe – 250-756-1191