Five ways to build lasting customer relationships:

1. Learn about them.

Do a little research and find out some of the basic characteristics and qualities each of your clients possess. Learn about their lifestyle, their work and social life. Chances are, you’ll discover numerous ways you can relate to your customer and therefore spark a genuine connection.

2. Teach them.

Make each of your clients feel important by taking the time to share valuable information they can apply to their daily lives. When your clients know you are invested in them, they will invest in you.

3. Be patient, not pushy.

There is a fine line between maintaining an open line of communication with your customers, and becoming a source of incessant irritation and pressure. Avoid the possibility of coming across as annoying and needy by tapping into social cues. Notice how they respond to your e-mail check-ins and face to face interactions. Do they seem interested in what you have to say? Are they making eye contact and asking questions?

4. Simple, kind gestures.

Random acts of kindness can go a long way. Send your customers an occasional greeting card or small gift to show them they are appreciated and valued. Feeling cared for translates into feeling loyal.

5. Interact like a human.

In today’s world, it’s not uncommon to seek out quality customer service only to be greeted with an obviously scripted pitch via the telephone or computer. If your goal is to create a genuine connection with your customer, take advantage of your human form and have a face to face conversation. Never underestimate the value of eye contact, a handshake and a natural interaction.