October 17, 2016

6 Tips for Developing Healthy Customer Relationships

Your business couldn't survive without your loyal customers. Besides maintaining your regulars, it's also smart to expand your business by reaching out to new potential customers. Sometimes, a small, one-time project can lead to a lifelong customer relationship. The key to creating these relationships lies in your ability to earn a customer's trust by showing them how reliable you can be in their time of need, and giving them something for which to return. Follow these six tips for crafting healthy relationships with your customers, both new and old.

1. Be honest

Lying to your customer is never the answer. Being dishonest about projects or services to win a bid will backfire. You will not only lose the customer's trust, but probably his or her business — and the business of everyone they know — as well. Being honest about issues and delays and answering the customer's questions truthfully will earn you respect and foster a healthy customer relationship.

2. Practice integrity

Besides being honest and truthful, operate your business on a set of moral standards. Be fair in all aspects of your operation, and remember to treat your customers the way you'd want to be treated if you were in their shoes. Your customers will recognize these high standards and revere you and your company as someone they respect and want to do business with.

3. Follow through

"Mean what you say, and say what you mean," as the old saying goes. If you've offered a special service or promotion to a customer, don't back out on it. Once you've made a promise, you can't take it back without a loss of customer trust. Follow through with what you say; it makes you look much more credible and will help further your customer relationships.

4. Make it personal

Take the time to learn more about your customer. Then, the next time you meet with them, you have an immediate talking point. Showing you care about your customer as a person, and not just as a point of sale, will make them feel that their business is wanted and appreciated.

5. Communication is key

No one likes to be ignored. When your customer raises a concern or has a question, don't push it aside. Communicate openly with them and let them know it's okay to ask questions. Also, provide them with many forms of communication. Besides giving them your work number, give them an email address or a personal cell number to be used in case of an emergency. Healthy relationships allow open communication.

6. Express your gratitude

Remember: your customer didn't have to choose you. Odds are, there's plenty of competition in the area. Show your customer you're thankful they chose you as their business partner. The simple phrase "thank you" can go a long way.