Five ways to be better at Customer Relationships

February 27th, 2018 by Martin Smith No comments »

How to build better Customer Relationships

 

I was asked to take part in a panel discussion recently where the key theme was “Being Better at Business”. My focus for the session was how to be better at Customer Relationships. It was a subject that caught the imagination of the participants at the time so I thought that it would be worth creating a blog post on the same subject.

So here goes; 5 Ways to be better at Customer Relationships;

 

Be patient in building new relationshipsCustomer Relations

Relationships take time. So, take the time to get to know your customer, the person, and share a little bit of yourself when you meet them. This is how we start to build trust, a subject that I’ll return to later….  However, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that it is the work that you deliver for your client which is paramount in building the relationship. At the end of the day, no amount of personal connection will substitute for great work. It will help you greatly if you can get to know their industry and specifically their company. Do your research. You don’t have to be an expert, but it will at least help you to speak ‘their language’. One of my favourite techniques when working with any client is simply to Ask Questions and Listen. Find out what keeps them up at night and then tailor your interaction and offerings accordingly.

 

Communicate like a human being.

I’m sure, like me, that you’ve experienced those times when you get to speak to a glassy-eyed, toneless customer service person, especially on the telephone! What’s funny about this, when you think about it, is that many businesses often make the mistake! We are often guilty of training employees to memorise greetings, sales pitches and even apologies, when all customers really want to do is communicate with a human being and resolve their need or issue.Communication, Customer relationships



When speaking to your customers, wherever possible, try to get face-to-face. Make sure you use their names, make jokes and be polite but most importantly be conversational and natural. Avoid looking or sounding like a zombie and actually empathise and emote with your customers. Ultimately, JUST BE YOU!

 

You build connections with people that you spend a lot of time around, whether that is your friends, work colleagues or family. The same applies when building customer relationships, it takes multiple interactions. Find out something new about them, their business etc. in every interaction.

 

Respond Promptly.Respond promptly to customers

When a client emails or leaves you a message, acknowledge the receipt of the email/message as quickly as possible. Even if you do not have the answer they are looking for. There is nothing worse than waiting for a response and this way you will give them comfort by simply acknowledging the receipt of their request and by communicating that you’re ‘on to it’.

 

It may seem like a ‘no-brainer’, but we can tie ourselves up in knots worrying about having the right answer. As a result, we then forget to acknowledge that we are ‘on the case’ in the first place.  Leaving your client “hanging” is not good for business or your relationship!

 

Build Trust with customers.Build trust, build customer relationships

Whether you have committed, rewarding relationships with your wife, partner, girlfriend, boyfriend, dog or even a hamster, by now you will have had loads of experience of building trust.

 

A customer’s trust and commitment is built in the same manner. Commitment is as an essential ingredient for successful long-term relationships. Developing a customer’s commitment in business relationships is likely to lead to increased profits, better customer retention, and a willingness to refer and recommend. Therefore building trust is essential.

 

 Three tips to build trust in your customer relationships:

  • Through your Persona, the way you behave, smile, eye contact and engage with the client (be human!)
  • Being Effective at what you do – Be Honest, Credible and keep your Integrity – if you say something, make sure you do it, on time!
  • Acceptance that they are who they are and you are you. That we all have different ways of working and that you can work together.

 

If you don’t act in your customers best interests, lie or make lots of mistakes, your customer will quickly realise you can’t be trusted, and abandon the relationship.

 

Ask for feedback.Ask for feedback from your customers

You need to know what your customers think about your business. Whatever they feel, they are likely to make their feelings known and so ultimately you need to know. Therefore, invite your customers to give you feedback to show you are interested and listening. Customer feedback helps you to hone your offerings to meet your customers specific needs. Finding the best solutions to their problems. The better your offering meets their needs, the more your business will grow.

 

Always listen carefully to any comments and respond promptly, whether it’s a compliment or a complaint. Even negative feedback is valuable and can give you an honest gauge of customer satisfaction and give you a steer for where you need to change or improve things. (Need more information on feedback)

 

 

Whilst this is not an exhaustive list I’m confident that demonstrating all five of these skills will help you to Be Better At Your Business!

 

If you would like help to develop your skills in this arena please give me a call on 01273 35886 for a no obligations conversation or email me at [email protected]

 

Martin Smith Learning and Development Ltd is a management training and coaching company working with business leaders at all levels to help them develop their communication and management skills and to build effective working relationships with the people that they interact with. For a no obligations conversation give me a call on 01273 358863 or email me at [email protected]
Helping you to GROW  your business by developing your people

Confidence: What a wonderful thing!

February 7th, 2018 by Martin Smith No comments »

How to grow your confidence

 

How do you think? “I can” or “I can’t?”

 

One of my favourite quotes is;

 

“Whether you think you can, or you can’t; you’re right”

 

The quote is credited to Henry Ford and it’s one that I use a lot, as its about confidence and self-belief, or what I like to refer to as the ‘messages’ that we tell ourselves. “Be careful what you tell yourself” as my friend and mentor Ross Page, used to tell me.

 

Basically, it’s saying that if we start with the thought (belief) that ‘we can’t’ do or achieve something we’re setting ourselves up for the probability of that outcome. Equally ifConfidence to grow anywhere we start with the thought that ‘we can’ do or achieve something we are setting out towards a positive outcome. There’s a part of our brain that always likes to be right! Therefore, depending on which of the messages above you’ve told yourself, it’s likely to be right!

 

Confidence is sometimes an elusive thing, and a lack of it is something that we can all experience at times. Over the last nine years of running my own business I’ve discovered that I’m not alone in this experience either. When I talk to my peers and fellow business owners and I’m truthful with them about my thoughts and feelings I discover that many of them have similar experiences at times.

 

So how do we maintain that confidence, or get it back when we’re “having a wobble”, a moment of doubt? Here’s a few ideas;

 

Talk to a trusted friend/advisor: Sharing your doubts with other people, people that understand what that is like can be a liberating event. I’ve found that my peers not only offer me support, but they offer me a different perspective as well as great ideas for enabling me to move forward.

 

Positive self-talk is really useful: By observing our thoughts we can catch ourselves when negativity creeps in. We can’t choose the thoughts we have, but we can choose which ones we react too and therefore how we feel.

 

Trust yourself to deliver: You’ve been in difficult spots before, or had very challenging deadlines to deliver and you’ve achieved them before, so you can do it again. Look back and remind yourself of all the times that you’ve kept your agreements or delivered on your commitments. Remind yourself that you came through those and learnt from them as well.

 

Set yourself some clear objectives (goals): Make sure that they are tangible. Create a vivid picture of what the final outcome looks and feels like and how you intend to get there.

 

Focus on what YOU want: Keep your focus specifically on what you want, within yourself, your life, your business etc., as opposed to what you don’t want. This ensures that you are focussed on positive outcomes rather than a negative (i.e. what you don’t want).

 

Have fun, enjoy the ride: Don’t forget, life is for living, so have fun. See the positives in each day, each experience, and learn from them as well. And if things don’t go to plan, learn from the experience, pick yourself up and go again! We learn from everything we do.

 

Nurture self-belief and confidence will follow… and you can start right now.

 

If you would like help to develop your skills in this arena please give me a call on 01273 35886 for a no obligations conversation or email me at [email protected]

 

Martin Smith Learning and Development Ltd is a management training and coaching company working with business leaders at all levels to help them develop their communication and management skills and to build effective working relationships with the people that they interact with. For a no obligations conversation give me a call on 01273 358863 or email me at [email protected] 
Helping you to GROW  your business by developing your people

The art of Networking – connecting with people

May 11th, 2016 by Martin Smith No comments »

NetworkingNetworking is mostly about connecting with people and building effective relationships with them and since any business is reliant on connecting with people, even on-line businesses, this is a crucial subject for any entrepreneur and business owner to focus on.

If you’re short on time to read the full article, here’s some tips to help you get the most out of your next networking opportunity;

» Read more: The art of Networking – connecting with people

Emotional Intelligence and what it can mean for you

April 8th, 2016 by Martin Smith No comments »

Emotional Intelligence and you

Emotional intelligence (EI) is our ability to understand and manage emotions in ourselves and in others. EI is a major factor in your personal and professional perceptions and interactions and is now becoming a more preferred method for evaluating employee credentials than simply looking at their IQ.

» Read more: Emotional Intelligence and what it can mean for you

What Executive Coaching can do for you

October 1st, 2014 by Martin Smith No comments »

 

Leader1In today’s competitive markets, business executive are put under an increasing amount of pressure. With so many key responsibilities and areas to manage, it leaves them with very little time and energy to devote to developing themselves as leaders and creating best management practices.

Something that is becoming increasingly more popular as a way of allowing individuals to take the step towards bettering themselves and their companies is executive coaching. Here we will provide an explanation of executive coaching and what it can do for you as a leader.

 

 

» Read more: What Executive Coaching can do for you

What’s causing unproductive meetings?

June 27th, 2014 by Martin Smith No comments »

How to have better meetings

I’ve written a few posts over the years Evaluating Meetings, Planning a meeting using PPO and Leading Meetings Effectively. Meetings are a fundamental part of business life, whether you are a small company or a large international organisation, meetings are intended as a way of communicating, sharing information, decision making and as a vehicle for perhaps delegating tasks that need to be done. This post is meant to go some way to answer the question; What’s causing unproductive meetings in our working environment today?

Meetings take up a considerable amount of our time, but for most organisations the actual ‘cost’ of meetings is simply lost or never thought about in real terms. Have you ever stopped to work out the actual cost to the organisation of a meeting? The next time you’re sitting in a meeting, take a moment to work out an estimate of the cost to the organisation. Think about how much time is being spent. Think about the average salary sitting round the table or “on the call”. Think about the loss of productivity whilst people are in the meeting. Or maybe think about the “loss of potential customer contact” whilst you’re in the meeting. In this technological age where teleconferences and video conferencing is becoming more prevalent, providing new distractions and opportunities to not focus on the task at hand.

The truth is that many meetings that you attend are about as useful as a chocolate teapot is for making tea. (Mind you, you can always eat it!)

» Read more: What’s causing unproductive meetings?

Leadership Lessons from Route 66 (Pt 2)

October 4th, 2013 by Martin Smith 3 comments »

Management & Leadership Development in SussexThis second of two blog entries about some leadership lessons that I drew from a trip across America via Route 66 earlier this year.

If you missed the first instalment you can catch-up with it here.

 

We we’re lucky enough to travel the whole Route from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California. It had been an ambition for a while and we wanted to do it the proper way, on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. We made the trip as part of a group in an organised tour run by Eaglerider in the USA.

 

So how did I draw Leadership lessons out of this experience you may well ask? Well, being a management trainer and coach I try to look for learning in everything that I do and everywhere that I go. Our Route 66 experience was literally ‘littered’ with them, from the people that have helped the Route to survive and prosper, and the people who fought and in some cases continue to fight to have their town, city or attraction listed as a Route 66 Historic monument. However it is our guides and support teams on our journey that I want to focus on today for they were truly inspirational. So what did I learn?

» Read more: Leadership Lessons from Route 66 (Pt 2)

Leadership Lessons from Route 66 (Pt. 1)

September 27th, 2013 by Martin Smith 1 comment »

Leadership Lessons

This blog entry is based around some leadership lessons that I drew from a trip across America via Route 66 earlier this year. We travelled the whole Route from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California. It had been an ambition for a while and we wanted to do it the proper way, on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. We made the trip as part of a group in an organised tour run by Eaglerider in the USA.

 

This is a two part blog with 5 Leadership lessons in each one. The second one can be found here.

 

» Read more: Leadership Lessons from Route 66 (Pt. 1)

Executive coaching: Common Misconceptions

July 3rd, 2013 by Martin Smith No comments »

Executive Coaching Word Cloud

Over the last few years executive coaching has enjoyed growing popularity in the world of staff development. It’s no-longer viewed as solely the domain of senior management or simply for staff requiring remedial development (“to get them back on-track”). It is becoming regarded as an essential tool for developing both existing managers and new ‘high potential’ staff alike.

 

However, despite this growing popularity, many common misconceptions still exist. These mainly revolve around the nature of the work that executive coaches do and the results they’re expected to achieve.

» Read more: Executive coaching: Common Misconceptions

Neuroscience – Mind Blown

May 9th, 2013 by Martin Smith No comments »

I have a particular fascination for Neuroscience and understanding how the brain impacts on our behaviours, so this info graphic caught my eye the other day and I thought that I’d share it with you on my blog. It’s fundamentally a simplified and exploded view of the human brain detailing which parts of the brain controls which parts of the body as well as our emotional response to events that we encounter.

» Read more: Neuroscience – Mind Blown