The three ‘be’s’ of customer relations
If you’re anything like us, you probably spend a lot of time considering how to make your products and services the best they can possibly be to keep your customers happy. However, we also know a simple, cost effective, and easy way to increase your customer satisfaction rates – and this is to improve your customer relations.
The term ‘customer relations’ may sound like jargon to you, but what does it actually mean? The Cambridge Dictionary defines ‘customer relations’ as, ‘the way that a company or organisation deals with its customers, and the relationship it has with them’, but how do we improve the way we ‘deal’ with customers, and therefore improve our relationship? In this week’s blog, we’re bringing you our three ‘be’s’ in order to do just this.
1. Be available
It’s no coincidence that this customer relation rule is number one on our list. If your customer can only contact you during a specific time, and you are unavailable, your customer will already be inconvenienced before they even make contact. Whilst we understand that it is not always possible to man all communication stations at all hours, but utilise your staff shifts to enable for as much cover as possible.
Availability doesn’t only apply to time. In today’s tech savvy world, the methods of communication available are innumerable. Some customers do still favour the old fashioned telephone call, but customers are also increasingly opting for emails, Facebook messages, Twitter direct messages, Skype calls, and live chatting – to name but a few methods! Try to explore as many of these channels as possible, weighing up who your target customer is, and how they prefer to communicate.
2. Be personable
Customers overwhelmingly prefer to talk to an individual than a department or company. Ensure that all communications sent directly to customers are sent from a named individual within your company. This will not only present a personal face within your company, but it will also increase accountability within the business. If employees are using their own name during customer interactions, they will wish to present the best side of themselves.
Customer relations must be good general human relations. Any staff that regularly communicates with customers should be empathetic, patient, and adaptable. A great way to achieve this, is to employ active listening, paraphrasing your customers concerns, and clarifying what they are saying to you.
3. Be long term
Once a customer complaint has been resolved, what happens? Most companies would say, ‘nothing’, the problem has been solved, so the customer may be sent on their way. By following this pattern, you are missing a vital opportunity to improve your customer relations. Follow up any customer issues a few days after the issue has been resolved, you’ll be surprised by how many customers have additional issues, or alternative suggestions to how problems can be resolved in the future.
Consider instigating a long term customer satisfaction programme that enables customers to provide continuous feedback on your services, this will allow your services and products to truly be customer led, as well as ensuring your customers feel like valued and important contributors to your business or brand.
Put aside some time and effort to improve your customer relations, and you’ll see a clear improvement in your customer retention and satisfaction rates. What are your top customer relation tips? Tweet us at @borgoverstrom to let us know!
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