THE WINNING RELATIONSHIP WITH CUSTOMERS
Regardless of how good an entrepreneur feels his product is, regardless of how much money he spends on marketing, regardless of the cutting edge technology, if the customer or the client does not buy his product, all his efforts will be naught.
People are so important to business that even share values of companies are usually determined by people’s perception. A share value is the price people are willing to buy a unit of share; that is, if people perceive that your company is good, demand will rise and price will rise (demand- price relationship) and if they perceive that your company is bad, demand will drop and price will drop.
A winning relationship between businesses and customers/clients will result in consistent purchase of goods or services by the customer/client—other things being equal. A company, just as it focuses on branding, technology, IPO, growth, expansion, these factors must be considered in relationship with customer/clients. The features of a winning relationship with customers/clients are as follows.
Respect: There is a subtle art of allowing the customer get what you want. Respect is the factor of longevity for all relationships. A respectful seller might not agree with the terms a client is proposing but he has to make such client understand his point of view without being rude—even when the client is rude. A traveler whose flight gets delayed might end up angry and with bad-manners; say, he approaches the customer service and registers his displeasure rather unpleasantly, the guy at the customer service might be tempted to talk unpleasantly back to the customer; however, if he has imbibed the principle of respect for customers/clients, he will still be able to explain to the customer in a pleasant manner why his flight is delayed.
Let’s take this conversation:
Customer: This is rather unpleasant. Your service is hopeless. I have a meeting for six; how do you expect me to arrive early enough and rest for my meeting? I paid for this flight but you idiots cancelled it for no reason. This is annoying. What are you going to do about it
Customer Service Guy: Sir, I am very sorry for the delay in your flight. It wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the weather. We suspect that if we take flight immediately, there will be problems and serious consequences. Once again sir, I apologize; however, if you want to speak with somebody else, I will pass you to our manager.
In the above illustration, the customer service guy respectfully explained the reason why the flight was delayed, apologized, and offered to pass the customer to a higher authority. He could have said: “Did we not just explain over the P.A. that the weather is bad?” He could have hissed and frowned and in the end, stir an argument that will only have negative consequences.
Care: Customers know when they are truly cared for—especially in the service business. A business-owner that cares for his customer does everything within his power and within their price range to satisfy the customer. At times, care makes business owners increase the prices of their services—and customers will understand if the reason for the new price is properly communicated. The best services speak one language: “We care” and it is seen in the way they treat their products or service in relation to the customers.
Feedback: This is one of the most important factors between business-owners and customers. Some business-owners are too egocentric or defensive to listen to feedback. Feedback gives entrepreneurs a sense of direction of trends. It gives entrepreneurs knowledge of areas where the product or service needs adjustment. A client or customer rarely willingly gives feedback, so, businesses must learn to ask for it every now and then.
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