In times where there is constant pressure of professionalism in the work environment, it is evident that people have forgotten the importance of building a personal relationship with their customer.
Now when I say personal I don’t mean becoming Facebook friends or following each other on Twitter. What I am referring to is getting to a point with your customer where you have mutual respect, trust and the ability to make your customer feel like you are in this together. Remember that your customer in most cases is a customer to someone else. This is vital given the fact that both partners contain the common goal of satisfying the customer.
4 Steps to Building the Relationship
- Ask “how are you” and “how was your weekend, did you do anything fun?”
- This allows the customer to share with you a much or as little about their life as they feel comfortable, while creating a dialog and pointing out things you may have in common.
- Anticipate the next question.
- For example, if you are asked a question the answer should never be only yes or no. It should be either yes, and here are the risks or no, but here are other options. By doing this you are showing your customer you are an expert and building trust. You are also going above and beyond with answering the customer’s inquiry. A bonus to this approach is this will result in a decrease of emails for both you and the customer. Less emails = more time.
- Acknowledge your customers frustrations and show empathy.
- People like validation and having their voices heard. Not only is this wanted in our personal lives but in our professional life as well. If a customer feels you understand and are taking their problem seriously, they will have faith in you to take care of the issue without escalating.
- Be responsive.
- If you are asked a question over the phone and you don't know the answer, simply state "I don't know but I will find out and get back to you". If contact is being done through email, a simple response saying "I'm looking into it” goes a long way. If you don't respond at all while you look for the answer it gives the appearance that you have not read the email and as a result, people start to panic.
By following these steps you will be able to build trust and increase reliability allowing open communication between you and your customer. The customer may share more information with you than they would have before enabling you do to a better job for them. They will have a better perception of you and since you are the face of your company, this will give them a better perception of the company you are working for.
So ask yourself this: When given the choice to deal with a stranger or someone you trust, who would you choose?