Build trust and you're on
your way to building a long-lasting relationship with your customers. Trust
is the basic framework for all customer/vendor relationships. Advertising and
marketing efforts create interest and will initially pave the way, but results
win customers' trust. Stage 1 is to entice by developing a perceived trust that
products and services will be rendered as expected. Stage 2 is to turn the perception
into a reality during your encounter with a customer.
Remember, customer service
begins with first contact. This may happen with the customer service person
at the front counter who remembers names and orders. It may occur with the call
center individual who personalizes service by giving out their direct line and
who is requested by clients. Perhaps it's the loading dock manager who makes
sure that the carrier moved the merchandise on time for project completion and
who has become, in essence, the epitome of the company to the customer.
In my travels to New York
City and Javits Center events, I park at an outdoor parking lot located right
off 42nd Street. I do so, because there is a parking attendant who, though my
visits are infrequent, remembers my name…. Can you image that? He gets my car
quickly and always asks how I have been. The amazing tidbit is that this may
happen only once or twice a year. I'm disappointed if I miss his shift.
Not every person within
a company has direct outside contact with consumers. The relationships may be
more internal, such as the salesperson who develops a relationship with her
accounting department. When traveling, accounting understands the trust issue
and in turn makes sure that all her "problems" are taken care of promptly.
Relationships cannot be
faked and be expected to last long. Look at your firm and note where and when
relationships can be built in order to foster future business and retain current
customers. If you find "All Stars" on your team, acknowledge them and share
their secrets with others. You'll be on the right track to establishing trust
and long term relationships with your customers and contacts.
David & Lorrie Goldsmith
are founders of the Syracuse based MetaMatrix Consulting Group Inc. Their firm
specializes in consulting and speaking services. They can be reached at 315-476-0510
888-777-8857 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org