The Three-Legged Step Stool of Maintaining a Lasting Relationship with Your Customers

There are three different but equally important aspects of any good relationship and must be the foundation for the rest of the relationship to be built on. Whether it’s a business relationship or a personal one.

 

Long-term customers can be a great source of repeat business and quality referrals to more potential clients.

If even one of these aspects is missing or weak, it’s unlikely that the other two will be able to support the relationship on their own. They are RESPECT, COMMUNICATION, and TRUST

RESPECT

You may have a flood of customers coming through your door, but if you don’t respect them, they won’t become the long-term clients that lead to long-term success. The best ways to let your customers know you respect them are through your actions.  Show them that you appreciate their business, care about their issues and try to make them feel special.

COMMUNICATION

As with personal relationships, communication is another key component to a good business relationship.  It is amazing how often I am talking to someone, or overhearing someone talk, about problems with their relationship and it comes out that all the issues they have with the other party they are talking about to everyone else BUT the other party.

Contrary to apparent popular belief, a serious relationship does not cause a sudden onset of telepathy.  In a business relationship, the easiest way to find out how you’re doing, or if you may need to adjust some of your practices, is to ask your customers.

Just as a significant other can’t fix something if they don’t know its broken, you won’t be able to either unless they tell you.

Once you’ve established a line of communication, make sure you actually listen to what they are telling you.  Be willing to compromise and adapt your practices to the customer’s needs.  While you may not be able to please everyone, you will be able to improve on your current business model and learn what works best.

TRUST

People screw up, sometimes in a small way, sometimes spectacularly. Some mistakes cannot be forgiven. Most can be IF the work is put in on both sides.

When maintaining a level of trust in business, it isn’t just important to do what you say you are going to, but, if something goes wrong, make sure you handle it in a way that will keep your customers loyalty.

Be honest, this is the fastest way to build a trusting relationship with your customers and to rebuild one if something goes wrong.

If you make a mistake be prepared to explain how and why it happened and the steps you are going to take to fix it. Don’t delay in taking action, the more quickly you address the issue, the sooner it can be resolved. Be sure to be respectful and apologize, your customer will probably be frustrated or angry.  However, a truly loyal customer will understand in the long run that you’re human and these things happen.

A good way to show you are trustworthy is to be yourself. Being genuine makes you more approachable. Whether you are a little eccentric or straight-laced, you can show your customers who you really are as long as you maintain a professional distance and respect their personality as well.

The Step Stool That Keeps Your Relationships Up

So, like a three-legged step stool, each of these primary aspects of a relationship with your customers is equally important. If just one of them fails, the whole relationship can topple over.

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Photo by Reynermedia

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