Human interaction is a fascinating thing to study. The more I study the more I see similarities between the way we interact with each other and the way brands interact with people, and other brands.
When I speak with someone, the way i engage with them says something about the value i place on them. They can tell if I'm comfortable around them. They can tell if I genuinely care about what they're saying. They can tell if I'm subtly looking over their shoulder to see if someone more important is lingering behind them. They can tell if I'm using them to get to someone else. They can tell if I value them.
I have a friend who needs communication regularly. If we don't, in his mind - all may not be well in our relationship. The regular updates ( personal, not bulk ) the phone calls, pictures and occasional text messages all communicate to him that i place value on our relationship. When I speak with him, looking him in the eye and listening tells him I value what he has to say. I am listening to what matters to him. In return - my considered responses are accepted warmly because I am not looking for the next gap in conversation just to convey my next thought, which is irrelevant to the things he just shared. If I call him only when I want something, he will quickly feel that I'm only in it for what I can get. Who needs friends like that?
He might sound like high maintenance. But he is a good friend. And good friends deserve your attention.
Your business or brand needs to operate the same way. Your customers are your friends. Maintain eye contact. Listen when they speak. Consider your input. Contact them regularly and let them know you're thinking of them. Be there for them when they need you. Bring them some soup when they're sick. Share a bottle of wine when they succeed. Don't just contact them when you want to sell something. Offer them ways to save money, not spend it.
Be a good friend.