By Angela Stephenson
Have you ever been so interested in a product that you called up for more information? Were you then fobbed off by a sales representative and told to “check the website”, “download the eBook” or “use the trial first”?
If your answer is yes, you’ll understand that frustrating sense of “Why does this company not have any time for me??”. Unfortunately, as businesses rely more and more on technology, it’s becoming easier for them to disengage from a personal service, and instead point you in the direction of FAQ lists, tutorial videos and online brochures.
However, the last thing a business wants its customers to feel is isolated and neglected. If companies only start caring about people when they’re ready to sign up for their services, they run the risk of driving away scores of potential customers. Why would you not want to get to know your customers?
When someone has questions, it’s in your interest to answer them. Okay, there are timewasters. However, most customers want to choose how they interact with the sales representatives. Some customers want to save their own time by speaking to someone directly about their needs, rather than spending hours browsing a website and trying to work things out alone. You’re wasting your customer’s time by making them trawl through information that is not relevant to them.
Relationship building is not just about what you can get from the customer, it’s about how clients experience your company. If you’re disinterested in them from the start, then they will quite happily move on to one of your competitors who will be willing to speak to them and help with their enquiry.
Relationship building begins before any sales go through. It begins from the moment a potential customer visits your website or contacts your company. Your opportunity to begin the relationship, and have an individual, human connection with a customer starts there.
If a customer contacts you with specific questions, show that you care about them by answering their questions as best you can, and guiding them towards the right solution.
Do you want to be a faceless corporation that customers have difficulty in navigating? Probably not. If you’re a leader, take your time to identify opportunities for relationship building. Find out why customers may be disappointed with the way your teams have treated them. Finally, don’t ever dismiss customers if there’s an opportunity to assist them.
Investing in your customer relationships will encourage clients to invest in you. Like any other relationship in life, you have a choice whether to enter it or not: if you choose not to engage, then don’t be surprised if you start to feel lonely, or your bottom line starts looking a bit miserable.
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