Although there are many differences between business and personal relationships, being successful in either area requires a similar skill set. Whether looking for a long-term relationship or a successful business, being able to build and maintain a relationship is an important skill to have. Use these 10 tips for both personal and business relationships.
1. Treat people genuinely. Avoid treating customers like they're a number. Each person should be treated individually, even if their complaint or need is identical to others. People who are happy with their service generally tell up to 6 people about the experience.
2. Respect personal boundaries. Although it can be tempting to ask questions and get to the heart of the matter, respecting personal space is always important. When a person feels comfortable speaking with someone, they're more willing to open up and not feel defensive.
3. Listen and remember the small things. Always be willing to hear someone out, even if the information may not be needed. Many times, people just want to share a story about their experience, and it's valuable to listen to it carefully and pick up on the details. Also, most consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer service experience.
4. Remember to keep on track with the relationship. Although it's great to offer first-time incentives to customers, it's important to maintain excellent service and attention to keep a customer. The main reason customers end up leaving a service or business is because they don't feel valued anymore. A small amount of effort in this area can add up.
5. Treat them like a partner rather than an observer. Always ask for feedback and demonstrate that the opinion is valued and appreciated. Although this may not always result in positive feedback, ensure customers that all of their opinions are valued and wanted.
6. Build trust. It's very common for businesses to change over time to fit the changing times. However, customers always want to know about any change in their relationships, whether the change is good or bad. Remember that just one negative experience can take 12 positive experiences to make up for that mistake.
7. Acknowledge mistakes. Everyone makes them, but it takes an honest person to come forward and admit that they're wrong. Always acknowledge any faults made in order to prevent anger and frustration down the road.
8. Keep up with promises. When making a commitment to call or to provide a service at a certain time, always follow up. Customers are usually ready to leave a service after just two times a business falls through, so make this a priority.
9. It's worth it to apologize, no matter what the circumstance. Although the problem may not always be the fault of the business, it never hurts to offer sympathy and empathy. This can help to mollify customers and build a stronger relationship.
10. Always be grateful. Kindness and continuous gratitude improve the quality of the relationship between the customer and the business and ensure continued business. Many people will stay with a company even when faced with better offers if that company has a history of good experiences.
These ten things are great ways to build strong service standards for both personal and business relationships. Apply these to multiple situations to see improvements.
Stefanie Amini is the Marketing Director and Specialist in Customer Success at WalkMe, the world's first interactive online guidance system. She is chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe.