Despite all the challenges to being new on the market, startups actually have an advantage in terms of creating and maintaining customer relationships. Their youth and innocence make it easy for the locals to like them, and their relatively small network keeps them relatable.

It is, unfortunately, an advantage most startups outgrow as they expand and dip into new territories. Although they grow as a business and gain a larger customer base, many of them tend to lose that extra little spark that made them special, to begin with.

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Here is how you can maintain a strong relationship with your very first fans so that they can make your small business even bigger.

Remember to communicate

Way too many small businesses lose touch with their first customers because they stop communicating. If you’re not talking to them, you’re not listening either — and they won’t be able to tell you what’s missing or what you happen to be doing great.

Your earliest customers are, after all, the ones you have up to 70 % chance of reselling your products to — they know your quality and service, so don’t let it drop. Social media is a great way to keep the channels of communication open, for example.

Let them reach out to your Twitter or Facebook profile if they have a problem, and make sure you have someone there to answer their questions as soon as possible.

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Keep in touch

Even when your customers are no longer experiencing any problems and have no reason to reach out to you, it’s good to keep in touch once in a while. Don’t just sit around and wait for the questions to pour in; if there is none, it might mean that they simply have nothing to say about your company at the moment. We need to give them something to get the conversation started, in other words.

Birthday greetings through email or Tweets, holiday cards, discount offers — the list goes on, so unleash your imagination and figure out the best way to reach out to your existing customers. Have a read around the web as well, by the way, such as this blog post here, and you should be able to get some great ideas on keeping your business’ core in shape.

Focus on customer success

The more you’re able to help your customers solve their problems, the more they’re going to like your business. Make it a part of your company culture to focus on making them better by assembling a small support team through social media, for example. That way, you’ll be able to concentrate on running your business, while your existing customers are taken good care of.

It sends a strong signal of quality and care to them as well, so they’re likely to spread the word if they keep having positive experiences with you.

Growing your company and gaining a larger network doesn’t mean that you have to give up on those who made you so great, to begin with. Focus on quality and customer support, and make sure you stay in touch with them — that way, they won’t really forget about your existence.

3 Ways to Maintain Customer Relationships for Startups