How sustainable business practice can help customer relations to grow

Making the switch to more sustainable business practices doesn't only mean changing working conditions in the office. By refocusing the sustainability spotlight on a company's external operations, including with consumers, a range of more green, alternative methods can be implemented. Use these to help your business grow and improve customer relations as well as look after the environment.

Think outwards

According to recent research from Accenture, the global management consulting firm, 58 per cent of CEOs believe customers are driving sustainability the most in business. This data suggests that incorporating more green, environmentally aware policies throughout your organisation is likely to benefit the relationship with your customer base, as well as helping to look after the planet.

Consider how to improve the way your company is viewed externally, by competitors and consumers alike, with sustainable changes. Use environmentally friendly promotional products to get your brand and message out there, helping to stand out in an extremely competitive market. Thinking about even the smallest details, such as materials and design, in an eco-friendly way, is an effective way to show your customers that you care about the planet as well as your company's image. 

Get customers involved

According to the UK-based Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), the marketing mix – the essential elements which drive this area of business – depend largely on the the product. Understanding what your company is offering and how to promote that to consumers can be crucial. With an increasing amount of customers leading the way in sustainability, as mentioned above, incorporating eco-friendly elements into your marketing strategy can be key.

Promoting your organisation with conference bags made of sustainable materials or similar strategies can be one way to boost awareness of your company, while defining the organisation as leaders in green business policies. Plus, by encouraging your customers to reuse your promotional items, you're not only continually displaying the organisation's logo, you needn't worry about damaging the environment, either.

Plan for the long-term

As business executives know, cultivating a customer base isn't completed overnight. While the results of your eco-conscious campaign may be a long term process for maintaining customer relations, you can be confident the positive effects for the environment can begin to occur more quickly. Switching off computers, recycling and other sustainable measures can help save organisations money as well as cutting energy consumption. This provides vital funds which can be ploughed back into the business and redirected towards client-facing initiatives, while looking after the planet at the same time too.

According to a report by the Disney Institute, building and maintaining an "emotional connection" with customers is key to long-term brand loyalty. However, while technical changes can happen immediately, thoughts and feelings take longer to form. Working with your consumers to see how your product fits into their business plans and aims over the longer term can be aided with sustainable measures, to show initiative and a regard for the future well-being of the world. 

This is also likely to mean checking in with your clients to gather information about the products and services you offer and how consumers feel that these items are helping them. While this can often take the form of business meetings and complimentary goods, consider using sustainable corporate gifts to maintain good working relations with your clients in a more green, efficient way. 

Hopefully your company has been inspired to take up more sustainable measures for interacting with customers, as well as expanding these across an organisation where possible, for a more environmentally aware business which cares about the planet as well as its people.