Even if you have amazing products, fair prices and fast turnaround times, without offering customers a personal connection, your business may never really get off the ground.
In general, improving business relationships with your customers will make all of the difference between having a stellar first year versus one where you wonder why you are constantly in the red. As for tips on how to make this happen more easily and effectively, please consider the following:
1. Make Every Customer Feel Special
In order to make personal connections in business, you have to strive to make each and every customer feel like he or she matters to you. If you need some inspiration, look no further than the pet supply giant Chewy.com; when a heartbroken pet owner recently asked the company to cancel his automatic order of pet food—sadly, the owner’s cat of 17 years had passed away — the customer service rep not only empathized and handled the refund, she sent a lovely condolence card in the mail along with a delivery of flowers. The grieving customer came away feeling like he had made a connection with someone who truly understood his pain, and Chewy made great strides to make every pet owner feel like a member of their company family.
2. Offer Support to Your Clients
Rather than feel like the time with their clients is over once the sale is completed, successful business owners will realize that their relationship is just beginning. When your customers call you with a follow up question, thank them for their inquiry and let them know you are more than happy to help them with their issues. Be aware that younger generations love to communicate through social media, so if you have company pages on Facebook and Instagram, closely monitor those sites for questions from customers and answer them promptly.
One company that handles the “We are there for you” approach quite effectively is Amway; the company provides an impressive support network for its new business owners. From mentorships to free training programs, Amway does a great job of being available for its Independent Business Owners. And though some have wondered if Amway is a pyramid scheme, the company has proven its successful business model is legitimate and reputable.
3. When Needed, Apologize
The ability to figuratively kiss and make up is an important way to build personal connections in business. Despite your best efforts to please everyone, there will always be a few cranky customers who complain about your product or price. Going back to the social media point from earlier, unhappy customers are notorious for posting negative reviews online without reaching out to you first. By keeping a close eye on every post on social media and apologizing and promising to make things right, you will not only impress the crabby client, but everyone else who is reading the posts. Of course, the same is true for clients who call or email in with a complaint—listen carefully to what the person is saying, apologize sincerely and rectify the problem.
Happy Customers Mean a Successful Business
Working on your personal connections in business should be as high of a priority as making sure your products and services are top-notch. By being supportive, going the extra mile and, when needed, eating a bit of crow and solving any problems that pop up, you will not only have strong relationships but a strong and successful business.