Guest post contributed by Dan Molloy.
Developing Relationships and Working Strategically With Customers Can Give Your Business the Strength to Survive
Companies cannot sustain themselves in a vacuum. Customer retention is essential to every business from banking to construction to educational institutions. Without customers, businesses fail, as many have learned and continue to learn over the years. Financial uncertainties and higher than average unemployment rates only add to the instability some companies face, and a great many find themselves facing the difficult decisions of how to grow their client base and, as important, how to keep those clients satisfied and willing to come back for more.
How does a business know when it needs help?
Financial reports that are less than stellar are a clear sign that a company is in danger, but by the time those reports are available, money, time, and opportunities have already been lost. Businesses may not realize that there are accurate ways to determine a company needs help in retaining clients well before the standard quarterly reports are generated.
One of the most effective methods of determining the need for change is observing the front-line employees; those individuals who have the first and most frequent contact with customers. Customers who are unhappy or unsatisfied with frontline interaction often choose to take their business elsewhere. By listening to calls, monitoring in-person contact, or having access to online communication, a business owner or manager can often find that interpersonal relationships between their employees and their prospective customers can make all the difference.
What type of change is needed?
The fundamentals are certainly true; customer service representatives, sales persons, office managers, and any others who are often in contact with the public should be courteous, articulate, and put the customer’s needs first. These basics are crucial, but they are only basics and do not give customers or prospects anything exciting or endearing enough to keep them satisfied.
Along with observing those most important of interactions is pinpointing the nature of the relationship with the customer. If a company decides to turn a customer into a partner, that is, view that customer as an entity that is equal and worthy, not as a faceless name or a dollar sign, that customer will feel as if they are valued and that their desires are being met at all costs. When customers become partners, and businesses work with their clients, needs are more thoroughly satisfied and customers often come back for more.
Changing a customer into a partner is merely a matter of designing the relationship. That is, setting up clear conditions within which you will operate. When employees understand that they are to work in conjunction with their clients, they are more likely to listen to their clients words, heed their desires, and both parties are more able to help one another. This leaves the customer more satisfied and gives employees a great sense of accomplishment. In the end, everyone wins.
Molloy Business Development Group, LLC offers the patent-pending “Language of Commitment” training programs. These programs are designed to increase sales, improve customer service, and enhance leadership and management competencies. Learn more about Molloy Business Development Group by visiting us on the web at http://www.molloyllc.com.