The 5 Most Crucial Steps to Building Customer Relations
Behind the entire concept of good customer relations lies business integrity - without this, you will inevitably trip up sooner or later. Put simply, you are providing a service or product for a paying customer. This brings obligations, things that the customer has a right to expect. But that is good business practice assembled from the 5 most crucial steps to building good customer relations.
- Valuing the customer: this means listening, responding and communicating at all stages in a transaction or enquiry. The customer may not 'always be right', but the customer does have the right to be respected.
- Assistance: whether in a shop or down a phone line, your job is to help the customer to evaluate your product or service - if you don't show interest in this, why should the customer show interest in you?
- Marketing: make an effort, and make it appropriate. Show your product at its best - but be realistic too. The goal is not to make unsuitable sales, but to match customer to product - this way every sale has a happy outcome.
- Technical support: if you sell or simply communicate electronically (email and internet), be sure to maintain this channel well at all times. Crashing websites and ignored emails make a very poor impression, and lose you your customer's loyalty (and patience!).
- After-sales support: you must have a robust policy for all eventualities - the customer who changes his mind, the faulty goods you sold in good faith, the delay in delivery - all these threaten customer relations but, handled properly, can only enhance your reputation.
Building - and maintaining - good customer relations can take time and money. But it is an essential investment in the success of any business, and worth getting right. It leads not just to happy customers but also to confident and productive staff. And if you are still not convinced - remember how you felt the last time you were treated badly as a customer!
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