A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so. – Mahatma Gandhi.
Take a moment and let those words sink into your heart, soul, and passion for doing business. Ask yourself, “do I put the customer first, and respect the opportunity to serve him before the needs of my own?”. In today’s self-centered culture of doing things, many organizations fail to truly serve the customer. In doing so, they also fail themselves.
The objective of this article is to pin-point four strategies that you can implement today to plant your seeds of customer growth – growth in the relationships with your customers, to better serve them, and to better the opportunity you’ll gain through that service:
- Listen. Really listen. Turn off your cellphone, email notifications, and any other distractions that could interfere with the quality of the time with your client. Show respect. Listen to what he or she needs, wants, is curious about, or simply be the ear to vent their frustrations. Let them know that you’re listening through active eye contact, confirmation, and interactive not interruptive dialogue.
- Ask Questions. Building and maintaining a positive relationship with your customers requires you to understand their needs, wants, goals, challenges, and dislikes. This requires interaction via dialogue. These questions can clarify concerns that you may not have fully understood while he or she was sharing insight, or wasn’t stated, but was implied. Clarity and understanding is essential to growing from the current point to the next.
- Bridge the Gap. This simply means putting together a client-focused strategic plan to achieve the desired outcomes from what was discussed, questions that were answered, and forming a specific strategy to aiding the client reach his or her full potential. This is the opportunity to roadmap the steps and actions required to get from the current situation to the milestones and to the main objective. The analysis aspect of bridging the gap is not only your analysis, rather, it is a joint culmination and understanding of between you and client of what, why, how, when, and by whom confirmation. It is a beautiful partnership that fully synthesizes where both you, and your client are today, and where you want to be.
- Contribute. The roadmap is nothing without action. This action comes in the form of specific contribution that fits the needs of client, not your needs. The detailed interactions, analysis, and roadmap aid you in getting the visual of what, why, how, and by whom. The contribution aspect, is holding up your end of the bargain to fully perform as identified. This includes: outstanding customized communication, specific objectives, specific initiatives, specific key performance metrics, dates of performance, and organized outcomes that all fit the client. Contribution with the client’s goals and objectives in front-seat provides you with the opportunity to serve and grow your client.
Building the relationship with the client is a starting point, but truly partnering with the client aids you in providing a more meaningful service that will grow that relationship.The fruits of your labor will be rewarded with dynamic yields of success within the client’s garden. That success will ultimately aid in growing your own garden.
Hess, E. (2012). Growth to Greatness Strategies: Smart Growth to Entrepreneurial Businesses. Ivey Business Journal. Walker, E. (2014). 40 Eye-Opening Customer Service Quotes. Forbes.
Copyright Viral Solutions llc © 2014. All Rights Reserved
by Katie Doseck, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of Business & Accounting at Stevens–Henager College
Chief Visionary | Viral Solutions LLC