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Making and Maintaining Customer Connections
  • 15 December 2019
  • Maya Harper

Making and Maintaining Customer Connections

The nature of customer relations is changing. As products and services become increasingly tailored to consumer needs, the era of large remote call centers and seemingly endless answering services can no longer keep up with consumer demands. As of last year, 80% of companies claimed they delivered “super experiences,” whereas only 8% of customers agreed.

Making and Maintaining Customer Connections

In response, companies of all sizes are attempting to reinvent the way they interact with customers, requiring complete overhauls of their ways of working. This is where small businesses have an advantage: As a slimmer organization, you have a unique agility to truly connect with consumers in a meaningful way.

To help you take advantage of this and develop the most authentic and long-lasting connections possible, here are some tips to help turn your customer interactions from transactional to personal.

Listen

It sounds simple, but listening to and learning from your customers are two of the most effective ways to establish longstanding relationships.

  • Make sure your exchanges are not one-sided. Nothing will make a potential customer want to leave a conversation faster than being talked at.

  • This applies to phone, email and other types of communication as well. Bombarding a customer with emails without any response is rarely productive, while waiting too long to reply can be taken as a sign of disrespect.

  • Connect face-to-face when possible. Digital communication is an important tool, but a quick meeting or even a video chat can go a long way in terms of opening up two-way communication.

Make it personal

Making and Maintaining Customer Connections

Connections are about more than just business.

  • Be attentive to your customers’ interests, and try to find something in common. It is not all about costs, products and services. People are much more likely to remember you and think of your business later, if you are able to make a personal connection.

  • Apply your experiences as a customer to your own business. Next time you interact with a company, no matter the size, take a minute to think about how it went. What did they do right? What went wrong? Use those learnings to inform your own customer relations.

  • Do not forget about the small gestures. Even the littlest things, from a smile to a holiday card, can make your customers feel a connection to you and your business.

Prioritize customer service from the ground up

Everyone in your organization should know where your priorities lie.

  • No matter the size of your business, making customer service a central pillar for your employees will ensure customers have a great interaction every time. Incorporate it into your new employee training program, your company values or any other ways you communicate your vision and priorities to people you work with.

  • Lead by example. Priorities, including customer service, start from the top. If you engage in meaningful connections with customers yourself, it shows others how important that aspect of the business is.

As the year comes to a close and you think about the ways you want to thank customers for their support, start by treating each one not as a number but as an individual. You never know which connections will be the ones that help propel your business forward into the new year.

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