Valuing Customer Relationships By Listening To Them Really Well

Exceptional customer service is becoming a rarity these days, except in those situations where business owners - and their people, of course - have recognized that there is added value in making the best relationships with those who ultimately pay their wages. And it's more than that, because it's possible to enable your customers and clients - with just a few tweaks to the way you work with them - to become total ambassadors for your business too.

Much time and resource is spent in the first place, on drawing in customers into relationships with us. Whilst we really need these interactions to thrive, so often, once they get through the door (real or virtual), the relationship falters.

You see, those at the sharp end are either ignorant of - or even worse ignore - just a few simple tactics that are easy to learn and even easier to apply.

When we have customers and clients, we have an obligation to enter into a simple transactional relationship with them, however minimal - that would be the worst case - that might be.

Yet there is so much more opportunity for us when we create great relationships with our customers, not least because it creates an easy passage as the transaction is completed.

If we get more creative when we build customer relationships, we can leverage it to have them as regular customers; to tell their friends and even, where things go wrong, for them to be on our side whilst we work to fix problems for them.

One of the easiest tactics we can each adopt whilst in conversation with them is to move the balance of contribution during the interaction, from us to them.

By spending more time actively listening to them, rather than filling the conversation from our end, we will help them like us much more. Being heard is a rarity these days, especially in service organizations, with their off-shore call centers and timed conversation targets.

When we give them the time to talk, we let them feel wanted and they respond by being more flexible; more patient and much more as partners alongside us.

Taking the time to listen can be challenging, as our organizations squeeze more out of those of us who are at the sharp end - and in less time too.

To make the difference, local managers would do well to leverage customer relationships by spending more time with - and listening to - their customers and encouraging their sharp-end employees to do the same.


© 2013 Martin Haworth is a business and management coach and trainer, working worldwide with SMEs & corporates and based in the UK. He has extensive experience in the delivery of one- and two-day training programs on a whole range of tactical management skills to be found at the workshops we do as well...

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