“All lasting business is built on friendship.” ~ Alfred A. Montapert
Customer relationship improves business success. Every successful business is built on relationships that begin with first contact and progress through various stages. These stages usually begin when someone becomes a prospect or customer, then a friend of your business, and ultimately a loyal customer and raving fan.
Turning your customer into your friend is important, especially for entrepreneurs and small business owners. When your customer becomes your friend, there is a shift. Now there is an emotional aspect to the relationship. And when your customers become emotionally attached to you, they are more likely to remain loyal customers.
According to the Walker Report by the year 2020, companies that will win are those who put the customer experience ahead of price and product. And it follows that a great customer experience builds a better customer relationship which improves business success.
Small businesses especially can get an even greater handle on building relationships with customers as they have the advantage of being able to communicate with a smaller group of people. If they are a brick and mortar business, they have the further advantage of face to face contact.
Loyal Customer and Raving Fan for Business Success
While there is more competition, it really is not too difficult to create loyal customers and raving fans. I recall attending a networking event when a gentleman began talking about his bank. He went on and on and the expression on his face was a delight to see. He talked about their services, the business relationship and ease of access to the manager and her assistant, her willingness to help in challenging situations, the interest she takes in her customers, etc. What’s more, there were apparently other customers of the bank at the event because I could see them nodding in agreement. It was clear that this banker had developed a strong relationship with her clients and had become their friends. She now had customers who were raving, loyal fans and who were happy to share their experiences with others.
When does customer relationship begin?
Customer relationship starts even before the person has become your customer or client in the true sense of the word. If you make that initial contact a pleasant one…a good experience, persons are more likely to want to get to know you, and find out more about you and the services you offer. Too often this is a missed opportunity.
I think of a former co-worker who, by her own account, was pretty well-off having been left a substantial amount of money by her parents. She came in to work and told us that she and her husband went car shopping the evening before dressed in shorts and tennis shoes. That was their down-to-earth style. They were looking for a pretty expensive car and so they went to the first dealership that carried that line of cars. She said the salesman was very condescending and was reluctant to show them the car they asked about. He, in fact, suggested that they look at a less expensive model.
They angrily left the dealership and went to another where they were treated with courtesy and respect. They drove home with the car they wanted and for which they paid cash. Happy customers and one happy salesman!
Become more aware for business success
Small business owners have to consciously make every effort to start building relationships at the first encounter so those relationships can grow and result in friendships – when your customers become emotionally connected with you. That emotional connection makes the difference between a customer who buys from you one time or now and again, and one who is loyal to you. A loyal customer is one who buys from you again and again, or uses your services again and again while happily telling others about you.
As an entrepreneur or small business owner, it’s important to set the tone from the first contact as customer relationship improves business success, and you do want to have a successful business.
Have you had a great customer service experience you’d like to share? Or it could be the opposite as well. Please do so in the comments.