Top 5 Tips For Better Customer Relationships
If we have work, we have customers ...
One of the most important parts of being in business is maintaining and enhancing relationships with our customers. This makes the time spent on a project more enjoyable, satisfying and effective ...
Improved relationships also increase the chance that we will get repeat business from that particular customer and regular referrals from them, on to people they know, which always makes us feel great!
We all like to think that we offer a unique and personalised service to our customers, but do we really give them that? The following are your top five tips for better customer relationships:
Have a clear, written contract
Believe me, this is essential! I have learned from bitter experience that no matter how well you get on with your client and how much you trust them, not having a clearly defined written agreement or contract can - and will - lead to all kinds of issues as well as having a financial impact on you. The emotional impact can be far greater!
This is the number one guideline for a successful customer relationship. Without a clear contract, neither you nor they can be clear on roles and responsibilities, deadlines, deliverables or methodologies and measures. Beyond the importance of the contract to the project itself, a clear contract is a great aid to a good working relationship.
Get to know your customers better
All relationships are better when the individuals in the relationship take the time to get to know one another.
This doesn't mean that you have to get too personal, but learning about your customers' interests, their likes and dislikes will give you a better understanding of who you are working with, which can enable you to give them the best service you have to offer. Understanding what their vision is for their own business will enable you to identify opportunities for you to be part of that journey.
Ask more questions and listen more
When we ask questions, we understand situations better. When working with my customer and their teams, I have stressed the importance of being heard.
For me, there is nothing more frustrating than feeling that what I'm saying is not being validated – that doesn't mean that everyone has to agree with me or do as I say (though I wouldn't mind if they did), but it is important to me that whatever I've said has been acknowledged and considered. We should always ensure that we do the same for our customers.
Make the time to ask your customer how they feel and what they think, then try to understand their observations. The skill of questioning is one of the most important in developing our ability to sell our products and services.
Be willing to say no!
In many cases, customers ask us to do things beyond our capabilities or interests. When these new requests are outside the contracted agreement, be willing to say no.
To take on something that you know is out of your scope of expertise or to overload yourself, just to please them, will be more damaging than saying no at the outset. Once you've committed to doing something, an expectation has been set, so if you are unable to deliver (for whatever reason) the end result will be disappointment for your client.
Take time to understand both the client's reason for asking as well as your ability to deliver. Don't automatically say yes, just because you believe "the customer is always right."
Stay focused at all times
Staying focused on your contract and on the deliverables is the best thing you can do to maintain and build your relationships. Talk about deliverables and deadlines in client meetings, show focus and then deliver on your promises. This builds credibility and enhances your relationships with your customers.
If you'd like to know more about improving your customer relationships, how to get repeat business from them and win future referrals from people they know, you may want to give me a call on 07521 790284 or click here to ping over an email and let's arrange to have a coffee sometime soon.
Until next time ...
I'm Kirsty Parris and I specialise in helping business owners, like you, to realise the true potential of your business. Whether that is getting you back on track with your business plan or helping to devise and implement new plans that you never thought possible.
Some of my clients see me as a coach, a mentor, a consultant and some even as a financial therapist!
Based near Milton Keynes I primarily work with owner managed and family businesses between London and Birmingham.
I offer a broad spectrum of business development services including business coaching, business growth planning, sales and marketing support, personnel support and systems reviews.
I am not just another business consultant as I see the job through with implementation should you require it and I will work with you on a retained basis as an addition to your team or on a project by project basis...your call...and there is no tie in. You work with me for as long as you are seeing the results.
Your minimum requirement? You need to be ambitious enough to reach or exceed your personal and business potential. Together we will make it happen!
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