When you connect with someone, you form some sort of bond with them. When it comes to people it’s basically establishing some sort of rapport or relationship with them. When you get that, you are able to trust one another. This often results in accepting what each other is saying without question or at the very least giving what the other is doing more benefit of the doubt.
When it comes to the business customer relationship building that connection is of utmost importance. Without it customers won’t patronize the business which will result in the business closing down. Simply put, businesses need to connect with their customers in order to survive. It doesn’t matter if it’s a business to business or a business to public relationship – as long as there’s a customer in there somewhere then there needs to be a connection in there somewhere as well.
The emotional connection
Customers make buying decisions often out of emotional connections. That’s because emotions run pretty much a good percentage of our decision-making and behavioral capabilities. Thus, customers are more often than not influenced by their emotions when it comes to buying.
The emotional connection is often based upon the strength and duration of the customer relationship. The longer and stronger the relationship the higher the emotional connection. It’s capturing the hearts and minds of the customer such that they have a better opinion about your business and the products and services that you offer.
- Be customer-centric. It sounds like a logical and easy thing to do but you’d be surprised as to how many businesses don’t give this the attention that it deserves and needs.
Being focused on the customer is not just a matter of stating is a mantra. It’s also a matter of making sure everything you do in your business supports that mantra. This means taking a good look at your business and asking whether your processes, procedures and internal message all focus on your commitment to your customers.
- Know your customers. Just saying you’re going to be focusing on them is all well and good but you have to also know and understand just who it is you’re focusing on. Doing so will give you a better understanding of who they are and where they are coming from so you can empathize with them.
- Who are they? It’s not like your customers are everyone in the world. Of course not. If you’re an automotive dealership then your customers are everyone who likes to drive. By identifying your target customers you will be able to tailor your focus so that you can create that connection with them.
Think of it as talking directly to that specific customer. Doing so will make them feel that you are only focusing on them. This will make them feel that you really know them and truly understand what it is they need and want.
- What are they looking for? This is as important as knowing who your customers are. That’s because how can you connect with your customers if you don’t even have an idea as to what they want or need.
By knowing what they want or need you can understand where they are coming from in terms of their questions, their thoughts and their actions. This way you can prepare to give them the solutions they are looking for. Doing this will make your relationship that much better. That’s because now, they know that you can be relied upon when they need it.
- How are they finding you? To what lengths did your customers have to go through in order to find not just your business but also the products and services that you have to offer? Doing this will help you understand where they are coming from in a literal sense?
Where you found out from one of your customers? Where did you find through the local newspaper or yellow pages? Did they find you online? You need to know this so you can get a deeper look at the mind of your customers.
- Act for your customers. Like they say actions speak louder than words. This means that not only should you give customer focus lip service, you also need to make sure your actions serve that purpose.
- Be the corner store. In the old days, the corner store was a place where everyone knew who you were. You come in and the store owner already knows what you want and is already putting it together for you. It’s a place where the owners go out of their way to make sure you get what you’re looking for and walk out of there carrying what you need and want. It’s also a place where they know things about you such as your birthday and such.
You can do this by showing customers that they are appreciated for being there as a person, not as a customer. Do this by showing that you remember little things about them so they feel connected with you.
- Talk with them. Don’t do any hard selling. That will just turn people away. Instead, ask them questions. Open up a conversation. This is perhaps the easiest way for you to connect with your customers.
Asking questions is fundamental to building a relationship. That’s because by asking questions you are showing that you want to do all you can to help them with their problems. Asking questions is a way for you to understand their problems so you can offer them solutions.
- Listen to them. It’s not just a matter of you doing all the talking. You have to know when to listen as well. Really listening to your customers will give you a much deeper understanding as to what their concerns and anxieties are.
Really listening will help you understand what’s behind their concerns. Maybe it’s because they don’t understand the new technology or maybe it’s the first time they have driven an automatic transmission. Whatever it may be, listening to them will help you know them on a much deeper level.
You also want to listen to your frontline people. After all, they are the ones that are in constant contact with your customers. You can get a lot of vital information that you can use to help you form that connection with your customers.
- Accountability counts. Take responsibility when it is needed. If any issue or concerns come up from the customer make sure you have a system in place that will tell the customer that there is someone accountable for this until a solution is found.
At the same time make sure you always respond to a customer’s concerns. A non-response is not how you build connections. By responding and showing that there is accountability you are showing your customers that you are going to make sure they get their answers and get is as soon as possible.
At all times you must give customers the respect they deserve. No matter the issue you should not lose your composure and get into a shouting match with the customer. Neither should you act in a condescending manner? Relationships and connections are built when everyone treats everyone the same way they expect to be treated.
Just how important is it to have a connection with your customers? Comment below.