4 ways to build great customer relationships
At Intelligent Office Jacksonville we build great customer relationships by: Helping our customer, with great technology, while being our self, and having fun.
J.B. Glossinger Contributing Writer
Are they really that important?
As I sit in the virtual team meeting I stare at my computer screen.
I gaze at the more than 10,000 names on my screen, all of whom I have signed up over the last seven years. It amazes me with so many names that I am able to remember a lot of them.
Many have gone their own way, no longer customers. Some just visited briefly then moved on.
I feel pain in my heart each time I tell the team, “Go ahead and delete them from the database.” It pains me as I think over the years what I could have done better to help them. I think of what could have been if I understood what I know now: That is, each person is important. They aren’t numbers, but actual people behind those e-mail addresses.
You need satisfied customers to grow
Over the years my business has grown to the point where a few people that leave won’t hurt us, but that is not the point. What I have learned is to achieve growth you need satisfied customers, ambassadors for your brand. This is a critical point today that your entire team needs to buy into. It is about the relationships you have with your customers that will bring you long-term success.
There are some really great ways to do this with the technology we have today. Not just posting a cute picture (meme) or quote, but actually using the tools to connect. Whether it is Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or the next flavor of the week, these tools can help us build relationships, but you have to embrace them.
Part of my sadness of deleting customers from my database is that I didn’t embrace this earlier. I had a pretty arrogant attitude that people needed me, and that my competitors or distractions wouldn’t take them away. I was wrong.
You may be asking why am I cleaning the database? I believe in making sure the people that are in my database want to be reached and want to build a relationship with my company. I don’t want people who don’t want to be there. This may seem counterintuitive to the idea of building relationships, but it is the real core issue. You are looking for ambassadors and if people don’t match your culture or company that can actually be an anti-ambassador.
If you keep contacting people that don’t want you to contact them they will turn on you. You want to make sure the relationships you build are with your customers that are happy with your products and services. If not you may have a customer service nightmare.
How to build great relationships
How do you build great relationships with your customers? Here are a few helpful tips:
- Actually help your customers. Get to know them, and figure out what needs and wants you can fill. The best way to do this is ask them. “How can I help you?” is still one of the best business questions ever.
- Embrace technology that helps you reach customers the maximum amount of times. These social tools make it easier for you to connect more than ever, and it doesn’t take too much time. Most of my connecting is done during down times on my phone. Heck, I even get some of it done on the golf course! Don’t make excuses; find the tool you like and use it.
- Be real and be an individual. Get your team to buy into this. People don’t want to build relationships with companies; they want to build them with people. If you can show that you are a real person behind your brand it gives it strength.
- Have fun. Watch turning the relationship process into a statistical tracking issue. Focus on communicating and providing value to your clients. Get to know them, honor them, and find the ones that really love you. When you find them, embrace them and watch how they become ambassadors for you.
This is what makes business amazing: The lives you impact. If you don’t have the fire to build real relationships with your customers and clients, then maybe you are in the wrong business.
I get that some people want to build a business to sell or to exit. I personally will never exit my business or retire. In fact, that word is not even in my vocabulary.
My main focus is to have a million friends, and with that everything else will be taken care of. I know I treat my customers as friends, how do you treat yours?
J.B. Glossinger is CEO of Alive Foundation and is an internationally known speaker, author, coach and consultant. J.B.’s podcast, MorningCoach, has been ranked among the top podcasts in the world.