Building Customer Relationships: Part 3
Last week, we talked about what makes a strong foundation for customer relationships and have found that loving your customers and communicating with them are two of the biggest factors of that foundation. But once you have this foundation built, it doesn't end there. You still have to stay present as your customer relationships begin to grow.
What does staying present mean? Staying present means:
- Truly listening to what your customers have to say
- Addressing their concerns
- Anticipating their needs
- Updating them on the progress your business has made
- Showing them what else you can offer to improve the lifestyle they lead
Customer relationships are dynamic; they are constantly growing and changing, but it's their progress that makes it so exciting. As time goes on, your customers will want and need different things, so of the bullet points listed above, the two most important are to anticipate their needs and listen to what they have to say.
When it comes to anticipating your customer's needs, think of when you're eating at a restaurant. If your glass of water is running low, your waiter/waitress should refill the water before it's completely gone. They are anticipating your needs, rather than waiting for you to ask them for more water. Another example is getting a new phone. You're excited to use it, testing out the features, etc. But after a few days, you may think: I should probably do something to protect this phone. Well, your phone company is thinking the same thing, so they contact you showing you phone cases and screen protectors, anticipating your need for protecting your new phone.
Think of what you have done for your customer before. Has it been a long enough period of time where they would need an upgrade, need something else to be fixed, or need another product/service that you have? Think about how you can anticipate your customers' needs based on what they currently have.
Sometimes it can be hard to listen to your customers, especially when they only have negative things to say. If someone is upset with your service, they may write a bad online review or something of that nature. But even when their comments are negative, listen to them. If they are upset with you for not showing up on time or taking longer than expected to complete a job, there are tools to help you manage the way you spend your time; take advantage of them. If they complain about the work not being done as well as they expected, take that feedback and use it to better your work in the future. If they complain about the price being higher than expected, there are many price estimation tools that can help you with that as well.
One of the best examples of this type of situation is Domino's. Many people would complain about their pizza crust not tasting good, that it's not soft enough and tastes like cardboard. But Domino's listened to what their customers were saying and completely redesigned the crust of their pizza to make their customers happy and strengthen the relationship they had.
So what are your customers saying? What positive things have they said that you need to keep up over time? What negative comments have they made that tell you there may be some problem areas in your business that you need to look into and change?
Staying present with your customers will help you to not only grow your customer relationships, but will also give you an external view of your business operations allowing you to see the changes you need to make; so listen and make those changes.