The Business Of Relationships
In a world filled with speedy delivery, on-demand functionality and online enterprise, common courtesy can easily become a victim. And the opportunity to establish a relationship? Just a mouse click away from being deleted completely.
But that doesn’t have to be the case. Businesses that invest in customer relationships tend to have deeper, more meaningful interactions. Creating strong relationships that are mutually beneficial can create bonds that are virtually unbreakable.
Relationships are not hard to establish — but, they do take effort. Here are some quick ideas on building professional relationships:
- Give, don’t take. When someone needs something (within reason), deliver without any expectation of something in return. It will pay off in the long run.
- Keep them informed. When you are asked to do something — whether it’s an official project or just a simple request — let them know how you’re progressing with the task.
- Maintain contact. Some clients have sporadic needs. The best way to increase their dependence on you is to stay in touch. It may be a simple cup of coffee that leads to a new contract.
- Don’t rely on Facebook. Engaging with a client on social media does not equal a meaningful relationship. Yes, you can be Facebook friends and retweet their posts, but real connections are made face-to-face.
- Anticipate and surprise. When you really get to know a client, you better understand their needs. Offering solutions before they come to a crossroads will be remembered and appreciated.
- Take it personally. Avoid using phrases like “it’s just business” or “it’s nothing personal.” These statements are usually followed by an apology of some kind. If you want to establish a strong relationship, it has to be personal.
- Know when to step back. Be respectful of their private lives and avoid crossing that line. Look for the signs, and act accordingly.
Successful brands that create strong ties with their customers not only enjoy great customers and tenacious brand ambassadors — they create friendships. And who wouldn’t love going to work where your customers are also your friends?