Relationships are built through mutual trust, respect and liking. Building a long term, stable relationship requires work and dedication but they often result in long and fulfilling business associations.
Research conducted by Gallup shows that many “satisfied” customers don’t come back – but loyal customers do. Loyal customers frequently return to buy from you and also go out of their way to recommend you to their network of contacts.
Therefore, make your customers feel valued in the relationship by:
- treating them with accuracy (deliver what you promise),
being available when customers want to reach you,
partnering with customers (listen to them and work on the same side of the transaction),
giving them useful information that helps them resolve their issues.
Customer-intimate companies don’t pursue transactions. They pursue relationships.
There are many ways to build a strong client relationship. Providing the best possible service to keep them coming back is a priority but great customer service is more than just about the things you say or do for them. It’s also about finding out what your customers really want and giving it to them.
Here are some more simple things you can do.
Be as visible as possible – meeting your clients / potential clients is vital so that they can put a face and personality to the name.
Be punctual – it never hurts to be a little early – especially true if your customer’s time is at a premium.
Have informal meetings outside of your formal meetings with the client – this can really help build your status as an advisor. You might also get some information that was not shared in a formal meeting that can even further help you serve their business needs.
Address customers by their names – seems blatantly obvious, but you’d be surprised by the number of times businesses deal with customers without ever once addressing customers by their names.
Do your best to exceed their expectations – by going the extra mile for your clients they will remember you.
Get customer feedback – your customers are one of your best market research tools. Ask them open questions that will lead you to new ways of improving your business and serving your customers better. Learn what is missing by talking to your non-customers to obtain 360 degree rather than one-dimensional feedback.
Keep your customers in the loop – besides updating your customers about new products or services you’re offering, inform them about changes you’ve implemented based on feedback you’ve received from customers. Give recognition to customers who had helped you improve certain aspects of your business and maybe throw in a discount or two on their next purchase.
Customer complaints – how you handle customer complaints can be the making or breaking of a reputation. If things go wrong admit it and take action to fix the problem.
Thank your customers – always, always find a way of letting your customers know how much they mean to your business.
Make great customer service your company’s culture – service excellence is not about perfection, it is about effective problem-solving and honest effective, two-way communication with your clients. Careful listening, continuous communication, and professional integrity are keys to a good client relationship.