by Marcia Zidle, Featured Contributor
IN A SERVICE BUSINESS, whether you provide health care, financial consulting, legal advice or even car repair, business occurs between individuals, not companies. Company X doesn’t buy from Company Y. Rather, it’s Sally who is buying from Joe based on a trusting relationship that has been built, nurtured and solidified over a period of time.
One business client told me:
“I don’t need a lunch or golf buddy. I want someone I can trust to help me solve the problems I’m facing today and will be there for me tomorrow.”
Here are three strategies to build great relationships with your clients, customers, patrons, patients and even constituents.
- Make a strong first impression.
The truth is, people make decisions mostly based on emotions, and justify the decision with rationales later. They’re really thinking, “Can I do business with this person?” or “Will I enjoy doing business with this person?” “Do I have confidence in this person or company?” What are you doing to make a strong first impression?
- Realize a personal touch goes a long way.
There are at least three dry cleaners around my neighborhood with comparable prices. But I drive two miles to one that’s even a bit higher in price. Why? Because every time I walk in, I’m greeted with “Hello Ms. Zidle, how are you today?” It’s not because I’m a top customer. Rather, it’s part of their business strategy to know their customers by name. This one thing differentiates them from the other dry cleaners in the area.
- Get everyone involved.
Long term relationships evolve one success at a time. It’s up to everyone – the front line, professional staff, and every manager – to work together to bring that personal touch that say: “We care about you! We want to help you!” Great customer service is everyone’s business in your business!
Smart Moves Tip:
Each and every customer experience can strengthen or weaken your reputation and profitability. Are you easy or difficult to do business with? Make customer focus a way of life in your business. Start from day one to talk about your customers, who they are, what they want and how everyone, not just customer service, must meet their needs and expectations.
What do you do to make your business stand out from the crowd? Send me your ideas – from simple to outlandish – that help you build and nurture relationships with your customers.