Customer relationshipsIn today’s world exceptional customer relationships are more important than ever. This means you not only need to build these relationships – you need to keep them.

You want relationships that are strong. Customers that are not only fans, but become raving advocates. Ones that keep coming back again and again, bringing their friends with them. To do that, you’ll want to enhance your customer’s experience each time they deal with you.

5 easy ways to build brilliant customer relationships:

1. Know Your Customers

Building customer relationships isn’t rocket science. Get to know your customers and continue to learn about them. Simple things like remembering the customer’s name, their needs and wants, what kind of cat they own etc.

The key is to continue the pattern after you’ve done the deal. Find things in common between you and your customer.

Begin thinking about how you can add value to them. This might be referring someone you know. It could be sending them relevant articles you come across.

Learn more about your customer every time you meet with them. This will enhance your customer relationship beyond “Hey, how’s your cat …”. It will go a long way to improving customer service.

2. Talk Like A Real Person

Some businesses make the mistake of training employees to talk by rote. They memorise greetings, sales talks and apologies. In reality, what your customers want is to communicate with you. They want someone who talks like a human being – someone who uses their name and can make a joke with them. Someone they can connect with who actually interacts like a real person. They don’t want someone reading from a script.

When it comes to building great customer relationships, you can’t go past this human element. This need for connection and your ability to meet it, will keep your customers coming back time and time again.

3. Love Customer Complaints

Customer complaints and negative feedback are great! They give you the perfect chance to hear what your customers think about you. This will help you improve your service. It gives you an opportunity to redeem yourself and keep nasty comments off social media.

So put a positive spin on customer complaints – because you want to know when you’ve messed up. The last thing you want is a customer keeping all that pent up inside – telling everyone except you. You’ve now got a golden opportunity address their issues.

But be realistic about the solution because you don’t want to disappoint your customer again. Then work fast to fix it. Sorting through the problem with your customer will strengthen your relationship.

4. Keep In Touch

Every interaction you have with your customers is an opportunity.

By keeping in regular contact, you can keep on top of how customers feel towards your business. If necessary, you can rectify problems if they occur.

There are many simple (and sometimes free) ways you can keep in touch with your customers. You’ll be able to measure their satisfaction, gain their feedback, or say “Hi …”

  • Follow up customers after meetings by phone, email, or even social media if that’s appropriate.
  • Send customers friendly reminders or special offers to show you’re thinking of them.
  • Send them an email to make sure they’re happy with your service or send a simple feedback request.
  •  Forward through digital or hard copy articles or information that could interest them.
  • Send customers a monthly email to keep them up to date with what’s going on in your business. You could include service or product news, company news and links to interesting stories.

5. Be Trustworthy

You know what it takes to build trust. It doesn’t happen overnight – it happens over time. Trust, once it’s gained, will pay off in many ways such as –

  • Increased profit
  • Customer loyalty
  • Willingness to refer you to others

Trust is an essential component in your relationship with your customers. It reduces the perceived risk and vulnerability. You must always act in your customer’s best interests. Never lie to hide your flaws and don’t make heaps of stupid mistakes. If you do, your customer will lose trust in you. This will be the end of your business relationship.

You can build trust by:

  • Showing empathy in your actions towards your customer.
  • Being honest, credible and of utmost integrity (if you say something, make sure you do it, and do it on time).
  • Showing you’re not only interested in your own gain. Have the competence to act for the mutual benefit of both your customer and yourself.

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