As a fellow business professional, you don’t need me to tell you that building strong relationships with customers is critical to your success. You know that by improving the lives and livelihoods of your customers, their loyalty to you deepens, your relationships strengthen, and your own business grows as a result. Strong customer relationships create value for your customers, value that they’ll want to share with others.
How do you build strong customer advocates?
Building strong relationships is both a science and an art: there is no simple formula. You cultivate and nurture those relationships over time… and you’re never “done.” You create a value proposition for your customers that simply is not available anywhere else. You exceed their expectations. Every. Single. Day.
Today, we hear a lot about people’s expectations not being met: the dissatisfied customer.
I’ve been the victim of poor customer service. I’m sure you have, too. You know the common complaints: being on hold for too long, difficulty finding necessary information on their website, or a cranky customer service representative. Poor interactions like these can ruin your reputation.
Consumers today are much more likely to share their experiences with friends, family and thousands of contacts online. Social media provides a platform for customers to vent, but it also provides a public forum for customers to rave about your service. Are you giving them ammunition for boasting or complaining?
What relationship actually means
How well do you know your customers? Do you understand what makes them tick? You gain a person’s trust when they feel like you “get” them. By understanding their goals and objectives and learning what is important to them early on, you will build a strong bond where they include you in their decision making processes.
In an age where technology means we never have to leave the office to do business, connecting with customers face-to-face has never been more important! Get a chance to know them, their family life, and personal interests. There is nothing like seeing the spark of joy in another person’s eyes after learning you share a common interest. Even just remembering to ask about family members or a beloved pet can go a long way in showing how important they are to you. Once that connection is there, if it’s easier to communicate behind screens, use their preferred vehicle. If they network digitally, you better learn how.
Finally, permanently maintain the relationship through consistent honesty and integrity. Customer trust is far more important than any products or services you have to offer. Always keep your commitments. Be transparent about anticipated setbacks, then develop reasonable expectations.
The value of “Thank You”
Did you ever leave a store or meeting without someone thanking you for your business? Feels kind of cold, doesn’t it? In our rapid-paced world, taking the time to simply thank customers for their commitment shows your appreciation for their business.
Good relationships maintain loyalty… and that appreciation affects others! For example, at the bank, we know that each customer helps support more local jobs, loans for main street businesses and individuals, and donations or grants we can invest into sustaining and growing our communities. Let your customers know how far their support reaches within your company and within their community. There’s a lot to be thankful for!
How does Standard Bank use this advice?
Simply put, at Standard Bank, we dedicate ourselves to providing advice to help our business clients make solid, well-planned financial decisions. We dedicate one Standard Bank associate, a relationship manager, to each of our business customers so they have personalized and customized service that improves their bottom line. We are our customers’ most trusted advisor. Sometimes we are the bearers of good news. Sometimes not. But we’re always honest, and our customers trust us to always do what is right for them in the long run.
Relationships matter to us, so we invest a great deal to ensure they remain the hallmark of our reputation and the nexus of our mission and vision. Our customers are our advocates. We solve their problems. We ensure a great customer experience. We deliver the right product to fit each specific need.
Want to know more about Standard Bank? Connect with a relationship manager (see right)… we promise you won’t be disappointed.
Taken from the Spring 2019 edition of The Rising Standard