Date: April 1, 2009

News - Forging Stronger Customer Relationships

We just had our third child and as before, I’ve been in awe of my wife. In the hospital on the big day as I tried (ineffectively) to ease pain and calm nerves, it occurred to me that the best relationships are not forged when times are good, they are forged when times are tough. While holding hands and being attentive wasn’t nearly as effective as an epidural, it’s the intangible things my wife will remember for years to come and we’ll be stronger for it.

Just like in our personal lives, challenging economic times can be just as powerful in forging long lasting and durable customer relationships. In fact, there’s no better time to earn loyalty and grow the business. Here are a few ideas to grow customer relationships that work especially well in tough times:

  • OFFER CUSTOM SOLUTIONS – Maybe there’s a different mix design, a better time of day, or a different tool that can help the customer. Don’t be afraid to offer a tip or trick.
  • LISTEN AND REPEAT – When you’re out shopping, don’t you just hate the salesperson that, without knowing a thing about you say, “I know just what you need.” Listen to the customer’s needs and then repeat back what you’ve heard so they know they’ve been understood.
  • SHOW EMPATHY – Empathy is the ability to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes. You may not agree with them, but understanding where they are coming from can help you find common ground and make changes arm-in-arm instead of dragging and pushing.
  • LOVE CUSTOMERS – One of my favorite quotes come from Sam Walton, founder of WalMart, “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” 

There are endless ideas, but they can be summed up in treating the customer like you would want to be treated. If we live and work the Golden Rule, especially when times are tough, we’ll have stronger and sustainable relationships to show for it when things turn around.

Other news articles from April 2009