Building customer relationships the easy way


Do you genuinely care about your customers?

Different customers have different needs so take the time to work out what makes each customer happy. Some like to chat while others have serious time constraints and need service NOW! 

It may even be that some customers will prefer to deal with a certain member of your team.  Encourage your team to have insight and to read body language.

Pick up the phone when things haven’t gone well and apologise when appropriate.  Don’t keep saying you’re sorry but not do anything about correcting the problem.  When you say “sorry”, be sorry!

Your customers should feel that you care about them and they need to have confidence in your ability to deliver goods and services at a fair and reasonable price within their required

As a business, you need to do everything you can to deliver exceptional service every time. Customers are not interested in excuses – they want solutions.  Avoid loading up your customers with your problems, your excuses and commentary about how and why you can’t deliver.

I am a little worried about the recurring theme being used at the moment:  “Sorry we are working from home,” as if this is an excuse to deliver poor service. 

Businesses should have had enough time, post Covid-19, to streamline their processes. Quality of service should not be linked to the location of your staff.  If working from home is having a negative effect on your business, it may be time to reassess whether allowing your staff to work from home is a good option. 

The first touchpoint for a customer is usually by phone, email or in person.  As a business owner, I would personally test these touchpoints to ensure they are receiving a great experience when they make contact. 

Randomly ring in to see how long it takes for the phone to be answered and how it is answered.

Go onto your business website and send a test email asking for someone to contact you and see if it is actioned.  Sometimes links are broken, and emails go into a black hole!

Walk through the reception area and see for yourself how guests are greeted on arrival.

Taking this one step further, you may consider using one or two of your regular customers to provide you with honest feedback on how they find your business. 

Listen and learn and remember their time is just as valuable as yours so thank them with a voucher, drinks or lunch.   

Make the time and effort to get to know each of your regular customers. 

As you build up a relationship with them, they may choose to share general information about themselves.  Try to remember details such as their sports and hobbies, holiday plans and family names, if shared. This is not about gleaning private information; its purpose is to help you connect with them.  This then leads on to showing they are valued. 

For example, if you give your clients gifts for Christmas (or other occasions) handwrite a personal note in the card. 

You may like to address the card to include their partner, where appropriate.  It’s easy to bulk buy gifts and send them out, but it’s the thought that goes into gift selection that counts. 

Don’t send bottles of wine to someone who doesn’t drink alcohol and likewise don’t send meat products to a vegetarian.  It’s all about the detail and your sincerity.

As a business owner it’s up to you to ensure your team is clear on your expectations around customer care.  Lead by example and develop a can-do culture. 

Care about your customers, be grateful for their support and enjoy them – after all you don’t have a business without them. 

Set your bar high and don’t be complacent!


About Author

Brenda Williamson

Brenda Williamson runs business advisory service Brenda Williamson and Associates www.bwa.net.nz