Positive Path Recommended Reading

How to make your customers fall in love with you!
By Karen Schmidt

Providing great service is all about developing a relationship with your customers. It’s about treating your customers as though they are your partners at work. It’s about getting them to fall in love with you so they don’t want to go anywhere else.

A relationship is about two people relying on each other and supporting each other to help them reach their goals. It’s about having a bond and rapport. I think these words describe the sort of relationships we should have with our customers.

5 stages of relationship building
So how would your describe the relationships you have with your customers? There are 5 stages to a long term relationship.

Acquaintances Met once or twice but don’t know each other
Friends The “getting to know you” stage
Dating Starting to form a relationship but early days
Engaged Getting ready to commit
Married Committed relationship with long term prospects

Statistics tell us that dealing with an existing customer is 6 times easier than dealing with a new one so it only makes sense to “get married” to as many customers as you can. Life on the customer dating “merry go round” might seem exciting but it does getting tiring after a while! The idea is to have customers at all stages of the relationship cycle because you never know when you might get dumped!

4 qualities of healthy relationships
OK, so you don’t want to get dumped. So what is it you need to do to ensure your customer relationships are healthy? There are 4 key areas to look at:

Both parties feel valued and their needs are met
A good relationship isn’t a one way street, there needs to be some balance. It doesn’t work if you take their money but don’t deliver and equally you don’t want them to take your services without paying. Also, watch out for being too desperate or clingy . . . it drives customers away.

Show how you feel
Let them know you appreciate their business by sending them a card, a small gift or samples of your products. Don’t take it for granted that they know you value them. Like other relationships, it’s often only when the other party is about to leave that we tell them how important they are. By then, the damage is done.

Open communication
A customer-supplier relationship needs open channels of communication to ensure that little things are resolved before they turn into big issues. Make sure you listen, give and receive feedback regularly and generally keep them informed.

Spend time together
Like all relationships, getting to know your customers involves spending time with them. Don’t just communicate by email or letter. Get out of the office and visit them, buy them a coffee, have a tour of their business. Spend time getting to know their needs and you will have a customer for life.

The relationships you have with your customers will make the difference between outstanding success and mediocre performance. Take the time to build your customers relationships just as you would relationships with other important people in your life.

And the next time you win an important account or someone places a big order, smile and think to yourself “they’re falling in love with me!”

About the Author: Karen Schmidt is an award winning professional speaker, workshop leader and author who is on a mission to create fresh workplace attitudes that help people and organisations grow!. Karen believes you can increase productivity and bottom line results if your people have the right attitude in 5 key areas of: work, change, customers, people and managing. To find out more visit
www.letsgrow.com.au


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