Listen to the customer
Perhaps it is the greatest art of all, to listen properly. Not just sit and wait for their turn to speak but really listen, feel and try to understand what the customer means. Both the pronounced and the unspoken. What is it they actually say? What are the needs behind? Are there any fears that rule and paralyze? Practice asking open-ended questions, ie questions that cannot be answered with just yes or no. Then the dialogue usually becomes more vivid and nuanced.
Let the customer meet as many of your employees as possible
Man is a herd animal. Since ancient times, we have succeeded in surviving by helping each other and cooperating. The little naked weak and slow primate homo sapiens should really have had a chance in the jungle or on the savannah but we conquered the world. By letting your client bond with more of your co-workers or colleagues, you strengthen the customer’s bond with yourself and those you work with. it creates security. It creates trust. It creates collective self-confidence.
Time is money. Waiting creates worry. The wait risks creating insecurity and cracks in the relationship. If you are unable to provide a detailed answer by email, you can email or text message that you have understood the question and set a time for when you can return. Not too many years ago it was sometimes almost impossible to get a taxi, but it was one thing that calmed down the callers. If they only knew when the car was coming, they could wait almost any length of time without getting angry. Clear messages calm down and create security.
Give special care to the rural customers
There are few things that can create as much uncertainty as when one does not experience being seen, heard and confirmed. When you do not look each other in the eyes, it is easy to sneak in a sense of doubt that you are really okay. Small tiny signals of doubts, ironies, or jokes that are the hint of plumbing can cause many to doubt. Am I okay, can I trust them, do they want me well or are they just looking for my wallet? Everyone needs confirmation. Show it. Regularly. Often. Honestly. It builds strong relationships.
Help your clients and colleagues with their careers
Growing and developing is a basic need of all people. Especially those with courage, self-confidence and ambition. We are basically curious individuals who want to see what is in the corner, want to discover our strengths, strengths and opportunities. Don’t be afraid to help those you meet with advice, tips, inspiration and contacts.
Anyone on the road should not be locked in a cage. No one is doing well in the long run. You may risk losing a customer or colleague for the time being, but you will win a friend for life. You never know where they will end up in the future but one is for sure, you have won an ambassador and it is valuable.
Check all the text you send to the customer
Spelling, spelling errors and poorly formulated texts give a careless impression and it always affects a relationship. Especially if it happens often. It is easy to become blind at home and not discover its faults and shortcomings, what do you do? Of course, you use spelling programs or why not let someone else read the text, someone who comes in with fresh eyes? Then you often discover what you missed. And, if you can, leave a text to rest overnight. As you read the next day, it is often much easier to see and detect errors and shortcomings. This is good for both the text and the relationship. Fort and error is not a good combination.
Be loyal to your workmates – and the customer
Everything you focus on will happen. If you send out uncertainty, you get back uncertainty. If you send out positivity and faith in the future, you will get back faith in the future. And if you focus on building a loyal, safe and developing collaborative climate, you will most likely get the same back. Be loyal, believe in man, seek solutions, show respect, be clear and seek common solutions and goals. Then you will be able to move mountains together. This applies to customers, colleagues, employees and suppliers. Shyness pays off in the long run.
Don’t talk negatively about the competitors
Don’t talk negatively about the customer.
Don’t talk negatively about the employees.
So simple, so difficult. It’s so easy for bad words to slip out. But remember. Negative thoughts and statements spread and sooner or later come back as a boomerang. No one is perfect and everyone is wrong. Wickedness and toxic comments only create a breeding ground for uncertainty and bad mood. Be straight and clear, take any criticism in a single room but do it with a good heart. Otherwise, you might as well be quiet. The basic questions that one should always ask themselves when the nasty side of one’s self is trying to get out are: 1. Is it true? 2. Is it nice? Is it necessary? If the answer is yes at all points and you can see the person in the eye, that criticism can be constructive. If you mean it.
Have evaluation calls with the customer at least once a year
Don’t just let the years go by. If you are an expert and want to be a partner who takes the relationship seriously, you should book continuous evaluation calls. It’s professional. It shows that you are committed. It strengthens the relationship. Remember to send out proposals on the agenda before a meeting and ask the customer to add or subtract. An evaluation conversation should be a dialogue where you think together. In a positive spirit.
Have catch-up calls with the customer at least once a year
Update about you and the customer about the state of the market, new trends, new competitors, new ways of working within the industry and in society. How will digitalization affect the customer and your relationship? How does the world’s global events affect the customer and their work situation. Regularly reflecting together and looking for the future creates both confidence, self-confidence and courage.
Never forget that you work in the service industry
You exist for the customer – not the other way around. It is actually very strange how many people actually seem to forget it. Remember what we found at the beginning of this little series of concrete tips for strengthening their customer relationships. 70% of all closed business relationships end because the customer did not feel the right commitment from his partner. Sad. Unnecessarily. Unprofessional.