Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.

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My dear friend Scott Summers, a.k.a. Cyclops, just broke up with his girlfriend for the third time this year--it seems like those two can never get it right.  Granted, this time, she was overcome by the Phoenix Force and transformed into an entity of total destruction, but that’s a different story.

Consoling Scott over his latest heartbreak got me thinking: any relationship takes a great deal of hard work and dedication, even in non-romantic situations.  Cyclops wouldn’t be caught dead reciting cheesy pickup lines to Jean, and in return, she would never buy him a green sweater (because his favorite color is obviously red).  So, why would you treat your customers like a series of horrible blind dates?

According to a survey of over 2,000 adults in the United States by global-marketing company Responsys, almost 75% of all customers want to build a long-term relationship with their favorite brands--and 34% of respondents have broken up with brands because of irrelevant, annoying content.  While some partnerships simply aren’t built to last, there are a few “dating tips” you can consider to ensure that your customers will stay with you for a long time to come.

I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times before, but be a better listener.  You’ll never create something valuable for your customers if you don’t give them the chance to voice their opinions.  Pay attention to what they have to say and you may get the opportunity to wow them down the road.

All relationships are built on trust.  Your customers trust you to provide them with relevant, individualized messaging that doesn’t disrupt or annoy them.  You wouldn’t call your girlfriend while she’s at work to tell her the latest football results, unless that’s her thing.  Reach out to them on their preferred channels, and don’t send them pictures of cute cats if they’re looking for the latest tech reviews.  Simple, right?

Go above and beyond.  It brightens your significant other’s day when you bring them an unexpected bouquet of flowers or cook an impromptu dinner.  Offer your customers information specifically tailored to their interests, beyond promotional offers.

Reward loyalty and celebrate anniversaries.  Start a rewards program and offer loyal clients discounts, specials, or even free gifts.  72% of consumers say that when a company or brand they love offers them free gifts, they are more likely to stay loyal for the long term.

Your customers have already felt that spark.  They like the way you look, what you offer them, your values and principles.  With a little bit of hard work and effort, you can keep them by your side for years to come.  If only Cyclops would take my advice, Jean might do the same.

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