In part one of Strong Customer Relationships, I introduced the six vital pillars that support strong customer relationships. I also discussed pillar #1: Making The Right First Impression (read about it HERE).
In part two, I discussed pillar #2: Being Easy To Do Business With (read about it HERE).
Each of these pillars have an important role to play and the stronger each of them are, the better your overall relationships will be. Today, let’s talk about pillar #3: Remembering Your Customer Has A Choice.
Pillar #3: Remembering Your Customer Has a Choice
One thing we can never afford to do is take our customers for granted. We should always remember they can usually go somewhere else to have their needs satisfied
For example, I recently had to make a claim on my home insurance policy after we’d suffered some particularly bad weather damage.
I’ve had cover for my home with the same company for years and they have been lobbying me for years to move my business insurance to them as that’s worth a very substantial premium to them.
In this case, part of our home got damaged and needed an urgent repair. It was fairly small in terms of cost but important to get it fixed quickly. Even so, the company was imposing strict rules about the way it should be fixed and who should do the work. It was going to take some time to get it all resolved.
In the end, it was easier just to get a handyman to do the repair and forget the insurance.
In this case, the money wasn’t that important but, with insurance, you want to be sure that if something goes wrong the whole process will be as smooth as possible.
Although I’d been paying them premiums for many years – and never claimed a dime – I felt they were letting me down at the one moment when I was looking to them for assistance.
That experience makes it unlikely I’ll be giving them more business. They allowed their procedures to get in the way of our relationship. They were making me jump through hoops when I needed urgent help.
The result was one of major inconvenience – and extra costs – for a good customer.
Their procedures – which may well be sensible in many situations – made life difficult for me when I needed assistance and they have lost business as a result.
The lesson from that experience is that we often create policies in the heat of the moment when something bad happens at the store level. This may be an overreaction to something that rarely happens – and we actually end up creating impediments to the very customers we are trying to help.
If you want to build long-term relationships with your customers, make sure you get rid of any unnecessary policies and procedures that make it harder for them to do business with you.
The way to make things easy for your customers is to be able to trust your frontline staff to do what’s necessary to serve and please them. That means your frontline staff needs to know that you stand behind them and will not come down on them for trying to please a customer.
The key to building strong relationships with your customers is remembering that your customers have many other places they can go to get what they need.
If you remember they have a choice, you will make it easy and enjoyable for them to do business with you!
– Stay Tuned For Strong Customer Relationships: The Six Pillars/Part Four. Coming Soon.