Like most businesses, yours probably strives to have customers for life. To learn how to achieve that goal, you could read numerous books or go online and find thousands of articles on improving customer relations. You could even hire a consulting firm to come in and show you how to retain customers for the long haul. But at the end of the day, it’s not about borrowing someone else’s secret sauce, but having your own. Why? Because who knows your customers better than you do?
You may recognize the name Ray Kroc. He was the owner of McDonalds. He purchased it in 1961 and with his franchising model built the McDonalds Empire. As part of the purchase of a franchise, Ray included an operations manual, in which he outlined the policies each owner should follow. The third one was specific to customer relations:
3. Will facilitate situations in which employees can always improve the level of customer service, yet never deviate from the expected levels currently required.
What a thought provoking idea! Make sure your employees know the minimum level of customer service you expect from them, while enabling them to improve on that level. Without giving away the Synergy secret sauce, here are some of our customer-relations best practices:
1. Follow a Process – Every touch with a customer should follow a defined process. This ensures consistency and predictability as to what the customer will receive in communication. Your process should identify items that you want included in every touch, such as clarity, personalization, consistency, etc.
2. Strive for Excellence – Continually striving for excellence in customer relations is key to keeping customers for life. What this means is taking things that are working and looking for ways to tweak them and make them even better—not just focusing on things that may not be working. Just like a chef who is always looking to improve his recipe.
3. Differentiate Your Solutions – You have to constantly be looking for ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors. In this fast moving world of changing technology, people are intrigued by new ideas and technology they read about on the Internet or see in advertising. Remind your customers how you are different and why your solution is better than what a competitor can offer.
4. Give Your Customers a Reason to Smile – We humans remember things that make us smile. Whether it’s outstanding and friendly service or injecting humor into client communications, give your customers a reason to smile.
My goal as the Client Relationship Manager is to ensure that Synergy is not just another AP vendor. We want our customers to view us as a Trusted Business Partner that continually delivers value. We don’t want to be tradesmen, we want to be craftsmen. We don’t want to be merely good, we want to be the BEST. And we try to have a little fun along the way!
“If you work just for money, you’ll NEVER make it, but if you love what you’re doing and
you always put the customer first, success will be yours.” ~ Ray Kroc