relationship

Are you the Output or the Input? - 6/25/19


You’re the output and the input. Sorry to put it into such technical/industrial engineering terminology. But in a service system, we all have some role as a part of the process. First, we receive the output. Somebody has a customer that they direct to us, so that handoff is from Read more

Hear Them, and Tell Them What You Heard - 6/18/19


CSS has conducted close to 1000 research projects over the years, many of which were web-based surveys. And oftentimes, in addition to or instead of completing the online survey, respondents e-mail us directly with questions or comments – and we respond personally to every message on behalf of our Read more

It’s Decision Time. What are you going to do? - 6/11/19


Serving others is tough. Whether it’s dealing with an irate customer, having to field the same question from the 100th different customer this month, or keeping 10 plates spinning while still smiling in front of the client, it’s hard. You want to do a great job, and you’re constantly put Read more

You Do Know Jack - 6/4/19


Have you ever had a co-worker who causes more problems than they solve? Simple things they do are often, from a procedure standpoint, correct. But the way they handle situations makes them come off as indifferent. Let’s call this co-worker “Jack.” Even though certain actions by Jack may seem innocent Read more

How to Give the Right Kind of “No” - 5/28/19


In a perfect world, you never need to say “No” to the customer. But as we all know, this is not a perfect world. There are a lot of issues in the world, and there are a lot of issues in customer service. Our companies are not perfect, our Read more

Make it Crystal Clear - 5/21/19


Sometimes we communicate so well, and sometimes we don’t communicate as well as we think we do. When you’re trying to set or manage another person’s expectations, what you say may be very clear to you, but the reality is it may not be clear to the other person. Read more

Harvey Wrote the Book on Focus...and Golf - 5/14/19


In Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, the famous golf instructor provides many key tips about golf that just as well could apply to life in general. One such tip is the following: Once you address the golf ball, hitting it has got to be the most important thing in Read more

Stop Rolling Your Eyes - 5/7/19


Most of our customer service tips offer advice and guidance. But advice and guidance is useless if the individual receiving it is not willing to listen, learn the theory behind it, and try to apply what they’ve heard or learned. I’ve personally facilitated hundreds of training sessions with clients over Read more

Should you tell the customer? The Employee’s Dilemma - 4/30/19


Last week we looked at the dilemma that many companies face – When there is an issue that is going to happen, should they tell the customer? This week, let’s address that same question from the employee’s perspective. I personally experience employees struggling with this question when I’m in Read more

Should you tell the customer? The Company’s Dilemma - 4/23/19


I have a lot of clients that struggle with this question, both at a company/strategic level as well as an individual representative level. When there is an issue that is going to happen, should you tell the customer? This week we’re going to address the question at the Read more

Customer for Life – The Second Step – 3/19/19

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment


Two weeks ago, we shared a Customer Service Tip on how to get (and keep!) a Customer for Life. We addressed the First Step, Knowing what you need to know about the other person. Now, we’re sharing the Second Step. To develop a relationship with anyone, there has to be some semblance of ongoing communication. There has to be some kind of dialogue that is not all about you. It’s about listening to the other person, about seeking them out and sharing something of value, or listening to something being shared by them.

For those of us that are trying to deepen relationships with our clients and grow our business with them, oftentimes we can get into a habit of communications being all about selling. Communications become all about pushing information. It gets to the point where, whenever they hear from us, they’re hearing about us and our products and services.

But think about what makes for a good relationship. There is informal as well as the more formal interaction. There are not long periods of dead silence. There are enough ongoing communication touches that the relationship never goes stale.

The Second Step in gaining a Customer for Life is to have a strategy that you implement that ensures that you don’t go too long between communications with the other person. This strategy has a mix of formal and informal touches. You’re not constantly pushing information to them, and sometimes you’re just engaging them in informal discussion.

Sometimes you’re asking them questions to learn more about them. Sometimes you’re requesting information or being inquisitive. And sometimes you’re providing something just because it’s the right thing to do even if there is no direct tie into a new sale.

In other words, care about them as an individual enough so that more than half of your communications with them are either helping them out, generally keeping in touch, or asking them about themselves.

To create a customer for life, take the second step. Make it about them, and never let the relationship go stale.

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Customer for Life – The First Step – 3/5/19

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This should be the goal, right? That our clients today will be our clients tomorrow and well into the future. That their loyalty grows, their business with us grows, their referrals grow, and it is all part of a relationship that grows and develops over time.

But what’s the First Step? To answer this question, think about the first step in developing a relationship with anyone – a friend, a co-worker, or anybody else that pops to mind. If the goal is to have a relationship with somebody, we’re not talking about JUST what to do in that instance or that one encounter. We’re talking about how to begin the process of communication and conversation that is going to occur over time. It’s about going beneath the surface to go from chit-chat to rapport to relationship.

Regardless of what event or phone call, what meeting or issue or question created this first encounter, the first real step in creating the customer for life, creating that relationship, is beginning to know the other person.

Who are they? What do they care about? What are their priorities? Who are their friends and family members? Even, what are their values or those things that factor into their decisions?

When you’re thinking about creating that customer for life, before you ever engage anybody, identify what are those things you really want to and need to know about the other person to form a relationship. Write those questions down.

Make some of them a part of every engagement, where you’re not just reacting to them or sharing information with them, but your inquisitiveness and your questions convey that you care enough about them to get to know them a little bit better every time you communicate.

To create a customer for life, take the first step. Know what you need to know.

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Be SomeBODY to Your Customer – 12/18/18

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Jenny lives on a farm, and she’s often running errands to get things for the animals or the family. She goes to one particular store to get her hay, and she always chit-chats with the person at the register. Marie is always friendly and cordial, and Jenny always buys a cup of coffee when she’s there.

At times, Jenny goes to get take out, and she has a special place where the family loves its Philly cheesesteaks. This is not in Philadelphia, and this is not necessarily one of those great hole-in-the-wall eateries. It’s essentially a chain restaurant at a mall, but Jenny goes there because she likes the Philly cheesesteaks, and she enjoys chatting with Mitch; he’s basically the point person at the restaurant, filling orders and engaging the customers.

Jenny can get hay anywhere, but she especially enjoys going where she’s going. She’s not just there to get someTHING, but she goes there because she interacts with someBODY that she likes. She is literally paying for the hay, but she is also paying for the experience and the rapport and the enjoyment of talking to Marie.

She could literally get a Philly cheesesteak at places closer to her than the 15-mile drive to the mall. However, she enjoys the food, and she enjoys chatting with Mitch. She enjoys not just getting the THINGS she ordered, but she enjoys talking to someBODY pleasant while she’s waiting on her meal.

It is not all about the product, people!

Even if that’s what the customer may be literally paying for, in reality, many customers are also paying for the experience. They’re not just buying someTHING, but they want to have a good experience with someBODY.

Even though you might sell a product or service – a meal for the horses or a meal for the family – be SomeBODY to your customer.

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