What do you feel is the most important factor in relationship building to yield added trust? How you make customers feel is the most important factor …hands down in our opinion. Like making new friends. Assure customers that you are who you say you are is the foundation. It is becoming the most important element of social commerce.
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Business is a people activity; people like to do business with people they know, like, and trust. Ones with whom they have relationships are at the top of the popular business option list. The stronger the relationships with your customers, the greater will be their trust and loyalty in your business. So it is very logical for companies to put a priority on building customer relationships.
Check out our thoughts on customer focus.
Studies show time, and again, loyal customers are the aptest to tell their friends about your business, creating strong word of mouth marketing. And as we have said many times … word of mouth marketing is the most important element of any marketing campaign.
So there are many important reasons to focus on building strong customer relationships. Here are ten tips to help you assure customers and forge new, and strengthen existing, relationships and trust:
Relationship building … be friendly and genuine
… focus on making friends.
Smile and be pleasant to be around
… Smiling is not rocket science and makes a BIG difference.
… For example: “Mr. Smith your car will be ready at 4:15 pm today” is much more accurate (and believable) than “Mr. Smith, your vehicle will be available later today”. Details tell them you know what you’re doing and that you have the situation under control.
Rebuilding trust in relationships … be a good listener
… Hear and remember the ‘remarkable’ for the next visit.
Tell the truth, ALWAYS
… with no hidden agendas and ulterior motives. Marketing puffery is not the truth; consumers are very educated on products and services.
Build relationships and trust … make notes
… As you talk with them, take the time to write down details of the situation. Even if you’re talking over the phone, ask them to pause for a moment so you can take notes. This tells them you are serious about helping them and you want to get all the information you can.
Make customers feel important
… Be authentic at all costs, however.
Build relationships and trust … create conversation
… Seek out shared interests by asking useful questions.
Make a commitment to them
… An excellent way to assure people is to make a pledge. Commit to something and give them your word. Then you are honor-bound to get it done. People respect others who make a promise and then keep it. It builds high credibility and loyalty.
Relationship building skills … use multiple ways to connect and close
… Always do what you say.
Customers come to us for one of two reasons. They want our help to accomplish something or to avoid something. They know they outcome they want. They engage our expertise and resources to get there.
And when customers choose us, they do so with a certain amount of risk. They risk their time and money. But, most importantly, they risk not getting what they came to us for.
When I travel across the country to speak at a conference, I need to rely on the airline I choose to get me there. A lot of people at the conference don’t get what they came for if the airline does not get me there on time. That’s a big problem for my clients and me who planned the conference.
So, we can help our customers by constantly assuring them. This should start when they first become a client and continue throughout the relationship.
It’s especially important to a problem or service recovery. That’s when you want to go overboard in assuring them everything will be okay.
We have two great examples of customer assurance … one the right way and one the wrong way to handle customers,
To illustrate how not to assure customers, we like to use the following example. We occasionally visit Kentucky Fried Chicken for lunch until a disappointment with a KFC takeout order of soggy, unappetizing chicken and fries. We called the restaurant chain’s toll-free number to complain but were told that complaints should be directed to the particular location’s manager. One call is worth the effort for us, but not two … especially if the company shows a lack of interest in the first call. We find it easier, given these two incidents, to find a new place for lunch.
KFC lost a customer without even knowing it had happened. You can bet your clients make “silent” decisions like this on a regular basis …so make it easy for them to give any feedback. Ask customers for direct, face-to-face opinions. Do it regularly and have them know whom they can talk to if anything goes wrong. The image above is real and a great way to let customers know you are paying attention and care.
This is the best way to assure customers … a customer service agent at Delta Airlines who understands the meaning of service.
The long and short of it is that several US servicemen were traveling and their tickets had not been paid yet. This prevented them from getting their boarding passes. A helpful agent at Delta Airlines took it upon herself to get the work done and make sure the guys got their tickets. They made it to the plane with only 30 seconds to spare. And they only made it because Delta staff worked with security personnel to get them through the security checkpoint quickly.
This Delta employee went way beyond her job. She showed the kind of automatic selflessness that is too often lacking in the organizations we do business with. She seems to understand what it means to put others first. Her actions showed it.
This is a good lesson on assuring customers for all of us.
When you take the time and effort to assure your customers, you’re reminding them they made the right choice. And you’re giving them something they want: peace of mind and the knowledge they came to the right company for their needs.
Do this consistently for every customer, and you’ll keep them coming back.
Remember, all customer-facing employees need to be engaged in customer relationship building.
Does your business focus on relationship building? Do you have any stories to share with this community?
It’s up to you to keep improving your customer engagement and relationship building performance and creativity.
So what’s the conclusion? The conclusion is there is no conclusion. There is only the next step. And that next step is entirely up to you.
It’s up to you to keep improving your customer attention and focus. Lessons are all around you. In many situations, your competitor may be providing the ideas and or inspiration. But the key is in knowing that it is within you already.
All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that struggle gets better every day you learn and apply new lessons.
When things go wrong, what’s most important is your next step.
Test. Learn. Improve. Repeat.
Need some help in building better customer trust from your customer engagement? Creative ideas to help grow your client relationships?
Call today for a FREE consultation or a FREE quote. Learn about some options to scope your job and pay for results.
Call Mike at 607-725-8240.
All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that struggle gets better every day you learn and apply new ideas.
When things are not what you want them to be, what’s most important is your next step. Call today.
Test. Learn. Improve. Repeat.
Are you devoting enough energy to improving your continuous learning for yourself and your team?
Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change. We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.
More reading on customer engagement from our library: