3 Ways to Utilize Local Partnerships to Improve Customer Experience

Jessica Thiefels

12 October 2020

The success of your company depends on your customer experience (CX). As early as 2013, industry leaders started realizing CX would overtake price and product in customer decision-making, and modern-day studies back this up. In fact, it’s estimated that 89 percent of companies compete with each other primarily on the basis of customer experience.

While there are many tactics and strategies to improve your customer experience, there is one key factor you can leverage regardless of your company budget: local partnerships. You can work with other companies in your area and industry to help customers, even when it’s outside of your scope of work or expertise.

Leverage local charitable partnerships as a way to contribute to your local community and show that your brand wants to do more than sell products or services.

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Here are three ways to develop partnerships that benefit your customers and therefore your bottom line.

1. Build Complimentary Brand Partnerships

There are many types of local partnerships you can leverage to provide the best experience for customers, and this is likely the easiest one to start with. The goal is to find companies providing products or services that are complementary to yours. In this way, you can drive business to related companies in your community or industry, encouraging them to do the same for you. 

A few examples of complementary partnerships include:

  • A web design company recommending a content agency or SEO firm
  • A wedding venue recommending reliable caterers and photographers
  • A real estate agent promoting an interior designer or pool installer they trust
  • A personal trainer recommending a dietician or massage studio

None of these recommendations are direct competitors and the partnerships are mutually beneficial. Plus, your customers have better experiences because the risk of hiring a trusted brand is lower than cold-calling a company they found on their own. 

2. Bring in Outside Support

When a client comes to you with a challenge that is beyond your scope of work or outside your current bandwidth, do you take them on or refer them to someone who can better handle their request or need? If you take on the work, you create a poor experience because you’re not fully equipped to handle the request.

This is an opportunity to use local partnerships. It’s better to ensure the client or customer gets what they need than to take on the work and deliver less than they expected. Scott J. Corwin, attorney and president of Scott J. Corwin law firm, uses this tactic. 

"If we are unable to obtain an excellent result to settle a client’s case I partner with other attorneys who have dedicated their practice to litigation and trial,” he explains. “That type of practice is generally a larger firm with the financial resources to advance costs, which could be in the tens of thousands or more for each client.” 

If you’re in business to serve your customers and clients at the highest level, you may need to leverage local partnerships to ensure you can in fact do that. In a case like this, you may even be able to agree on a referral fee, putting money in your pocket and allowing you to make a great impression on what might be a client or customer in the future.

3. Partner With a Local Charity

In 2020, consumers are looking to support brands that are doing social good. According to Sprout Social, 72 percent of consumers expect brands to positively contribute to society. What’s more, half of customers say they will switch to a company that supports a cause they believe in, and 84 percent of customers believe companies should support charitable causes. Your charitable support can help others while also helping yourself. 

Leverage local charitable partnerships as a way to contribute to your local community and show that your brand wants to do more than sell products or services. To do so, start with your brand values. Use these as a guide for which organizations and charities you choose to work with. 

For example, if you're a sustainable e-commerce brand, you would connect with charitable organizations that support the local community’s sustainability efforts. This partnership might look like fundraising or donating a portion of your proceeds during a specific campaign. 

Use a tool like Charity Navigator to start your search and find the right organization for your brand. Don’t forget to share about your partnership through your marketing efforts to give customers something to connect with.

Bottom Line: Referrals Improve Your Customer Experience and Decrease Your Cost per Acquisition 

Customer experience cannot be overlooked in our modern world and one way to prioritize this in your business is to leverage local partnerships. Use these ideas to support your customers and clients and show them that you care about more than the bottom line.

Jessica Thiefels

Jessica Thiefels is an entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications like Forbes, Fast Company and Entrepreneur. She also writes for Business Insider, Virgin, Glassdoor and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect with her on LinkedIn.

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