It’s Valentine’s Day and the topic of conversation all over the social media world today is of course about romance and love. Depending on who you are, this time of year can be filled with promise or despair. Either way, it is a good excuse for chocolate and champagne in my book.
And so hot on the topic of the day, I wanted to share some of my top tips for building relationship with customers, partners, suppliers and staff. What I have realised is that building strong successful relationships does not happen overnight and it requires a consistent and ongoing effort to retain. Relationships are fragile and hard won loyalty can be easily lost through poor customer service or issues not resolved quickly and effectively.
Here are the top 5 tips I have learnt along the way;
1.Have a vision
As you are cultivating your business relationships, be clear on what your goals are in developing this partnership with the customer. By clearly understanding common goals, you will have a constant reminder of the path ahead. Ensure that it is precise and motivation and share it with your customer upfront. A customer who determines you’re in it for the long haul, and that you’re actively motivated to help him or her succeed, soon begins to see you as more than just a vendor or supplier. You become a partner in their enterprise and someone they grow to value today, tomorrow and in the years to come.
Communication is of course the most important factor of any successful relationship. Effective communication helps us better understand a customer or situation and allows us to resolve differences, build trust and respect, and create environments where creative ideas, problem solving and success can flourish. As well as communicate, be proactively responsive for example return phone calls and emails in good time. Open communication is making sure you are doing everything to protect and build this relationship.
Listening is really a skill of communication and the most important aspect of getting it right. Effective listening will make your customer feel heard and understood, create a trusting environment and relieve negative emotions – especially good when problem solving.
4.Be useful … and relevant
The more value you offer, the more a customer comes to depend on you. Don’t hesitate to share information that may find useful (and relevant), whether or not it benefits you in any way. In this way, your customer will come to appreciate your value and turn to you when they need help.
The importance of consistency is huge. The best parenting advice I was ever given was ‘start as you mean to go’ and so hugely helpful this lesson was that I apply this rule to my business life every day. To build confidence and trust, you must deliver on your promises every time and mean what you say, when you say it. This simple rule should be the foundation to achieve more and it will separate you from your competition.
I hope you find these useful. I am sure you have your own tips – I’d love to hear them. Please feel free to share below. Happy Valentines.