Showing up to your first meeting with a customer carrying a dozen roses and a heart-shaped box of chocolates might send the wrong signal. Although you may be looking to enter a long-term relationship, traditional romance needs to take a backseat to best practices when courting customers.
Here are a few tips to avoid the slings and arrows of cupidity, and tie the knot with new customers.
Romancing the Tone
Much like with any other relationship, setting the tone from the get-go is key. You want your customers to think of your company as a perfect fit for their needs, present and future, not just as a one-night stand. This means establishing trust early on.
The just-good-friends pitfall exists in business, too. Finding that happy medium between friend and financial windfall involves a carefully considered approach to up selling your alluring traits (business ethics, quality assurance, secure credit card processing and so on) while also showing your commitment to customer satisfaction.
We Need to Talk
In love, this has dire connotations. In business, it’s a best practice. Keeping a finger on the pulse of your client’s happiness with regard to the services you’re providing lets you get right to the heart of any issues before they arise.
To accomplish this, you need to speak with your clients frequently about how things are going for them. Let the conversation flow naturally, and be yourself, not just your company. Spending a little extra time to take interest in a customer’s life is always a good investment, and it helps you avoid coming off like a cookie-cutter customer service survey. Supplement your face to face conversations with a Website design that communicates the right message to your customers.
In any good business relationship, both you and your customer should have absolute faith in your company’s ability; don’t undermine this by asking too many what-can-we-do-better questions. Keep it professional; keep it positive; keep your customers.
Tying the Knot
It’s time to get married to the idea that a good rapport helps business. For better or worse, you and your clients are in this together.
Many business relationships start off almost adversarial in nature because of haggling over price, contracts, and delivery. As trust and understanding grows, the us-versus-them thinking needs to stop. You are working for them, not against them.
Keep in mind that customers have different comfort levels when it comes to letting their guard down. Just as discussing wedding plans on a first date can put the kibosh on a romance, opening up those initial negotiations with an attempt at a long-term contract before your company has proven itself makes customers wary. Wait until you’ve wowed them, then pop the question.
What’s Love Got to Do with It?
Loving your work shows. Your clients can see whether or not you are actually committed. If you only want clients interested in wham-bam-thank-you-business-transactions, then it may not be all that important. If you want to keep them coming back for more, you’ve got to show them you’re committed.
In business, it’s taken for granted that all parties involved are interested in gorwing their business and making money. What’s not quite as common is genuine interest in customer service. Please take note: these two things are directly related. The better you treat your customers, the more likely they are to keep giving their business to you and passing your name along to others as well.
Consistent high quality service is absolutely critical when there’s a slip up. Mistakes are more likely to be forgiven when you’ve got a great relationship with your customers. If you’re just another faceless supplier, vendor or service provider, what’s stopping them from jumping ship?
Make It Smooth and Easy
Streamlining customer interaction, money handling, and all of the other little issues that trip up an otherwise smooth relationship, has never been easier. Ecommerce solutions and call centers can make customers feel more comfortable dealing with your company.
Whether the Web is your primary or secondary storefront (if it isn’t either yet, it’s time to call web design companies and dive head first into the wonderful world of online) your web design is another face your customers see. Make it attractive! The easier it is for customers and clients to interact with you, the easier it is for them to keep coming back for more…