How to Build Relationships with Your Customers

May 21 , 2014

 

We’ve all heard how important relationships are for a successful business. Between employees, suppliers, competitors and your customers, there are a lot of relationships to maintain. Every business relies on its customers to keep them going, so it is important to go beyond that one-time deal and nurture the relationship.

 

You know that saying, “the customer is always right”, while some may argue that they aren’t, for the sake of your business (no matter the situation) they are always right. Avoiding an argument with your client is the first step to building a successful relationship. In the case where a problem arises, listen to them, hear them and understand their point (exhibit empathy). From there it’s important to communicate with your client to set reasonable expectations and a timeline for a resolution to take place. 

 

Use the customer’s name. This may seem obvious, but in this day in age, many people, young and old forget names instantly. Addressing your customers by their name adds a personal touch to your service and shows you care. Take the time to learn how your customer wants to be addressed including, title, first and last name, or maybe you have made it to a first name basis.

 

Listen more than you talk. Although you may know your company inside and out, it is unprofessional to brag about your company, not to mention boring. Your job when dealing with customers is to become a professional listener (you have two ears and one mouth – use them proportionately). Understand what your customer’s needs, wants and desires are. From there you can better tailor your service to each individual customer.

 

Here comes another cliché saying, “Honesty is the best policy”. If a client is asking you questions and you are unaware of the answer, or wanting something you don’t offer be honest. Here’s where your keen listening skills come in handy. Listen to the objectives your customer has and offer a service your company has that can exceed their initial expectations. Being honest with your customers builds trust and respect.

 

Put a face to an email address. Understandably email is one of the most common and easiest ways to communicate with clients. However, people communicate better with people. Be sure to schedule a Skype video call, phone call or an in-person meeting to put a face to an address.

 

Every customer is your most important one. If you satisfy your customers needs (or exceed their needs), they will respond positively to you and this will increase your chance of referrals. Whether your client is a Fortune 500 company or John Smith’s corner store, every client is important to you. Although today a company may be small, they can turn into the next big company tomorrow.

 

Reward your loyal clients. Yes, right above this we said every customer is your most important and that’s true you should not play favourites. However, you will have some long-term relationships, which last much longer than others. Rewarding these customers with exclusive discounts or a rewards program will show how much you appreciate their commitment to you.