Strong client relationships are the bedrock of every business. Every printer knows that solid business relationships seems simple on the surface, but require time, effort and tact.
For a start, they need to five key rules
1. Treat others the way you want to be treated. When engaging in business with a customer, put yourselves in the client's shoes, and provide the same level of service and respect that you would want.
2. Honesty is key. If you can be honest and realistic about any services that your business cannot provide, customers will appreciate this and a foundation for a lasting relationship can develop.
3. Remember you customers are people, not numbers. That helps build the relationship
4. Keep things light hearted
5. Be cognisant of body language. People can tell, consciously and subconsciously, how you feel about being around them. Keeping your arms and legs uncrossed, smiling and making eye contact are great ways to ensure that a customer remembers interacting with you.
It is important to build instant rapport, listen hard, respect the other person’s mode of the world, use appropriate words and chunk your information appropriately. Ask probing but gentle and sensitive questions. And be flexible.
Insight into your customers can be gained simply by looking into what sells best. Which of your products and product options are most popular, and which are not doing as well as projected?
And use website analytics to check out the customer’s behaviour. That means looking at how they got to your site, the pages they visit, and how much time they spend on each page, as well as the pages they visited before yours. Not only will this inform you if your site is difficult to navigate, it will show you what features and information your customers are most interested in.
Another method is to survey customers. Done well, surveys can provide a simple way to gauge your clients’ opinions and desires, and you can deliver them easily through your website or via email. Ask the client about their experience with your company using simple, straightforward language to ensure the best results.
Customer feedback is good as is talking to clients. Keep in mind that talking to customers often means more than just asking them what they want. And remember, what a client says they want and what they’ll actually like (or pay for) won’t always coincide.
Set up a customer hotline and study complaints and compliments. Compliments show you what to reinforce whereas complaints point to new ideas and action steps for improvement.
The key of course lies with customer service. There are some companies that have turned that into a competitive advantage and have a developed a customer base that’s rusted on. Ever heard of anyone who has had a bad customer experience at Apple and Amazon?
Amazon for example will send a replacement for lost package without ever implying that the customer is at fault.
The in-store experience at Apple is second to none. People coming in for help or to buy a product find themselves talking to tech enthusiasts at Apple’s Genius bar. They do not come across as Apple employees. The result: Apple customers are the most brand loyal around.
Getting close to a customer is important. It maintains the printer’s client base which means the company can only grow.
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