In the world of business, especially in small business, relationship building is crucial to progressing forward.
Word-of-mouth is, as commonly said, the greatest form of advertising your business can ever have. Of course, business / customer relationships share several similarities with personal relationships, but with a business variation on several factors.
Build A Sense of Trust: Customers who trust the businesses they work with frequent them much more often. Thus, treating each and every customer as important and working to provide the best service possible, regardless of industry you work in. Being reliable time and again will go a long way toward earning your client’s trust – and their future business.
Communicate openly with clients. If something is going amiss along the time span of production (for a restaurant example, if a customer’s meal is taking longer than normal to cook), let the customer know. Keeping them assured that you as a business have everything under control and are willing to keep in touch with the client prevents customer worry about your performance and can enhance your reputation for reliability.
When things go wrong, admit it. It’s going to happen sometimes – something with a product goes wrong, and the customer becomes infuriated. Openly apologizing and offering to make amends (replacing the item and maybe an extra gift card for their troubles, for example) lets the customer (and any bystanders witnessing the blowup) know that you are sincere in your efforts to do your best in your chosen profession, and that you can be trusted, even if something goes wrong.
Be straightforward with your clients. While marketing is a very valuable tool, be careful with how you handle it; keep the expectations it sets in the realm of reality – disappointing customers who’ve been hyped up by your advertising undermines any form of reputation you have worked for thus far.
Offer a more personal touch. If you can, find some way, even if it is small, to make the client feel that you aren’t just giving them the standard fare of “get in, get what you need, get out”. Perhaps conversing with clients topically while waiting for cost reports on work they’re having done (such as car maintenance), or an occasional “Thanks” and signature on a receipt. Either way, you can make the customer feel more cared for at your establishment.
The client is extremely important – they are your business’ lifeblood. Without them, your business will not survive. So make the most of every client you can by taking appropriate consideration with them and being honest and open about goings on with the work in progress. Chances are, the customer will like the care you take with your work, and come back later for more!