When we create a true relationship with a customer, one that is built upon trust and respect, we will have them as a customer for longer and business will be easier. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. It’s common for there to be no relationship with the customer at all, and the customer feels like they are viewed as just another faceless source of revenue. Our business will keep customers for longer, if we invest in the relationship from the very beginning. This is not to say that every customer becomes our best friend forever. It does; however, mean having a greater depth to the relationship than the simple minimal-pleasantries exchanged transaction that is common in most businesses. When business is conducted this way, the impression given to our customers is that we view them as like all of the others: another person to sell something to. Another walking, talking, potential progenitor of business for us. This business model is not only bad customer service, but it will result, most likely, in less business. Every customer will want their service a little different, and it is important that we adapt to each one of them as we see fit. No two customers will want to be helped in the same way. Some will want to feel very warm and connected to you while they are being assisted, while some will want a more curt and professional model of service. This is why adaptability is vital when interacting and generating relationships with prospects and customers.
Obviously, this pertains more directly to businesses that have a fair amount of customer interaction. However, these principles are still applicable to most business models. There will obviously always be tough customers who we will not be able to generate a connection with, so this is mainly about the average customer. We are also not talking about being overly personal with our customers, but we are going to tailor the service to each individual customer’s needs. We are going to remember our regular customer’s names and service preferences. We are going to have the art of initial and concluding greetings down to a science: kind and personable, yet not overly personal. Being attentive to the services they are looking into and to how to best inform them about their options. Yet, not coming off as just another salesmen, looking to meet his or her quota. Even the way we apologize for a mistake and make it right must be considered and preplanned.
A great example of this is the phenomenon of brand loyalty. Look at what big tech companies have been able to do. They have generated a lasting relationship where their customers keep buying their product because the customer trusts the company and had a good experience with them in the past. Brand loyalty often has a negative connotation. Like the customer is so loyal to the point of irrationality. As in they are missing out because of their attachment to one brand. I am merely pointing to brand loyalty as an example of creating a good relationship with the customer. I am not saying that we should in any way strive to make our customers have an irrational attachment to our company. They should pick us over the competition because our products and services are better though.
Think of your favorite restaurant. It probably isn’t your favorite just because of the food. It is likely because of the staff and the quality of the food and the atmosphere. When a restaurant hits all of the marks it keeps you coming back. A lasting relationship has been generated. This is exactly what we want to do with our customers. When we raise the quality of our services, especially our person to person interaction, we automatically put ourselves in a different category in their mind.
Theodore Roosevelt said: “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” That is absolutely true, and it is directly relevant to customer service.
When our prospects and customers know that we don’t just see them as more faceless, business potential but as people. It will actually make them more open to doing business with us. If our prospects see how much we care about their experience with us, it will go a long way with them. It will lay the foundation of, what will hopefully be the beginning of, a lasting relationship with them. We want them to see that we are thinking ahead, about what they may need or how we can better educate them on a decision. When we invest in this kind of attentive and trust-based relationship, our customers will appreciate us more and will, hopefully, trust us more. These relationships let us know more about our customers, and it lets us personalize their experience.
Let us wrap this up with the following: having relationships with our customers improves their experience, improves sales and is all around good business practice. When our business invests in its customer relations, it will truly reap the rewards. If our customers know how much we care about their experience with us, they are more likely to remain our customer for longer and recommend us to friends. That should be our goal. To provide experiences for our customers that are shared like Ted Talks. We should refrain from being overly personal with our customers; however, we are being attentive to them and are being courteous. We are always looking to form or strengthen our connection to them. We should strive to show our prospects and customers that we are trustworthy, for all true relationships are build on iron studs of trust. When we establish trust and show our customers that we care, our relationships with them will sprout up before our eyes.
Challenge: Count how many customers you have who are “regulars” and do some tinkering. See if you can increase that number by one half in one months time. Sounds tough I know but often our greatest growth comes from when we are under pressure. Thus, applying some healthy pressure will help us grow.