Valentine’s Day is a timely reminder of the importance of relationships - how they start, their development and growth over time. We know from experience the importance of building strong relationships with our customers and their customers as well.
Whether it’s in our personal lives or in a business context, the time, understanding and consideration that we put into any relationship will benefit us in the long term. In a professional environment a relationship between a broker and customer may be easy to get into, but harder to maintain. There are key ingredients vital to renewing business and maintaining strong connections. Here are our top tips for effective customer care:
Stop the sales pitch - and start a conversation.
At the start of a relationship, avoid making a mini-presentation about yourself, your company and what you have to offer. Start by finding out about the person opposite, or the person you’re emailing or phoning, and learn about what they value and what their problems are.
People do business with people not companies.
The frontline employees in any business are intrinsic to success. Your frontline staff are the face of the company and must be trained to present a seamless and personable experience for all customers, whether they speak to one business manager or multiple call centre staff. Having well trained staff with a consistent approach to the way they work will undoubtedly build credibility in the long run, as customers know what to expect.
Focus on the end-to-end customer journey
Mapping out the company’s customer journey will help you to find gaps in communication. A clear and consistent message and tone of voice throughout the customer’s relationship will help to reinforce the association.
In our personal relationships, we might send a quick text or call to check in with each other. Working relationships are just the same and need maintenance to flourish. From a monthly newsletter to a weekly catch up call with a business manager, find out what is appropriate for the customer and keep the relationship blooming.
Relationships are a two-way street
As well as pushing out communications and leading conversations with customers, it’s important to let them drive too. Find out what they need from you, how often they need it and what channel works best for them. Each customer is unique and they’ll appreciate you making the effort to learn more about them.
Learn through feedback
There is always room for improvement, and feedback is important. And remember, it isn’t just for customers – running internal forums and surveys with staff can often unearth customer care diamonds.
This shows that your customer is important to you, and it’s flattering for them to know that you’re paying them so much attention. It also keeps them better informed of progress and ensures that, you remain in their mind, because in work, absence rarely makes the heart grow fonder.
Be prepared to give something of value at the start of a relationship. A solution, a fresh perspective or some research goes a long way to opening a customer’s mind to new ideas and your potential to help. When you are searching online or on social media for things to help you, identify stories that might also be of interest to your clients. Your good deeds will pay off.
People can tell when you’re being insincere, so avoid it. The people you meet won’t trust you if you put on an act. Be yourself and be honest about who and what you are.
Long-term relationships aren’t built overnight – they take time to nurture and grow. Don’t try to push clients into a relationship as that will only increase the pressure. Let the relationship grow at a natural pace rather than trying to force it.
If you want to know more about how we aim to help our customers, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org