Customers are the essential component of every business. No customers, no revenue, no capacity to pay expenses. How you treat customers and the population of not yet customers will drive your business going forward.
How you embrace and promote customer service needs evaluation on a continuing basis.
– As a retailer, is it only to sell what is in inventory?
– As a service provider, is it only to answer the telephone when it rings?
– As a CPA, is it only finishing the tax return?
– As a Doctor, is it only to treat the ailment?
– As writer, is it only writing for your own amusement?
Customer service is bookended with customer relationships. This demands more than just facilitating when the customer shows up to buy. Today, people who do business with you demand a sense of a relationship that provides products, services and a sense that they are being treated as a friend of the company. Without relationships, the buyer is not a customer, just one side of a financial transaction. One and done transactions will not entice the customer to return or recommend you. Your company must create and/or enhance your relationships with everyone who has contact with your organization.
- As a company, find ways to enhance how your employees interact with customers, each other and management
- As a seller, develop a relationship so you can learn what your customer wants to buy next
- As a buyer, be willing to engage in a relationship with your provider because it will improve every part of service that you anticipate receiving
- When communicating, replace coffee conversation with story telling that can promote relationships
- Always remember that good business is more than one transaction
This process of developing relationships will energize both your business and your personal life. Start with imagining how it would look to have relationships with customers. When you have that visual, explore and discover ways to actually make it happen. Here are a few ideas to ponder:
- Call customers and vendors to have a conversation
- Based on size of company, encourage group meetings to discuss how best to relate with customers
- Meetings are only good when ideas come forward and actionable items are created
- Try new ways, old ways and combinations. Keep what works and continue exploring for more
- Ask customers what you can do to improve their business
Never be afraid of change when the results have opportunities to make things better. Assess problems you are trying to solve today. If you are using 20th century problem solving methods, perhaps a different process can carry you to a better solution. Implementing better solutions will guide you to better customer support, service and relationships. Another good idea is to have a conversation with us to facilitate meetings, help you develop and implement plans, set a relationship oriented tone throughout your company