Think back to the last time you found yourself in a situation where you were developing a relationship with a new friend or possibly even a love interest. A lot of things went through your mind as the relationship grew. On some level, you probably asked yourself questions such as:
What will we gain by deepening this relationship?
What are the expectations if we move forward?
While the outcomes may be different, a relationship is a relationship. If you are in business, and you deal on any level with customers, the same questions apply.
Customers don’t do business with a company, they do business with the people. They spend their money because they have a personal relationship with the people inside the company. They won’t do business without a connection. We all have expectations. And if those aren’t being met by the people already in our lives, we’ll head out and look for them elsewhere.
What can you do to build healthier relationships with your customers?
Think about the business relationships you like best. You want to be a person, not a number. You want quick action, and never have to fight for what you need. Simple actions go a long ways. Improve your phone systems so your customers can reach a live person quickly. Talk with your customers as if they are friends rather than a number. Support them in a way that they feel recognized, instead of just another step towards your bottom line.
Communicate with me
People prefer different channels when communicating with a business. Some like phoning in, some like visiting a website. Some prefer to stop by, some people prefer to automate as much as they can. Because there isn’t a right method of communication for every customer you have, it’s important to develop strong lines of communications in several ways. Work to perfect the methods that are most beneficial to you and to your customers.
In today’s world, you can’t hide things from your customers. With a little bit of research, they will find out all they need to know online by Googling it, or asking a friend on Facebook or Twitter what they know. That means to develop a strong relationship, being transparent and authentic will get you a long way. The more information you share about your products and services, the more connection your customer will have with the way you do business. And that can help develop relationships for the long term.
Have you ever had a bad experience with a company, and had them turn their back and ignore the problem at hand? We all have been there. As a customer, we realize that not everything in life will turn out as perfectly as we had planned. But when a company goes the extra mile to make things right after a fall, it can improve the relationship immensely.
Appreciate your customers for all they do. After all, without them you wouldn’t be in business. Simple thank you’s can go a long way in improving a relationship, and also help you build a stronger referral base over time. Customers refer friends when they’re happy with what you do. And in many cases, a simple thank you and a little appreciation can set the stage perfectly.