Part 1: How to Understand Customers and Be Their Champions
Creating strong relationships with your customers isn’t something that happens overnight. And, every customer has a unique personality and perspective on business relationships. Ever been around a group of young pups? They may have the same parents and even look alike (i.e. adorable with tiny floppy ears) but talk about some unique personalities! It takes time and effort to understand individual pups and businesses alike, but once you do the end result is very rewarding.
How should you proceed in better understanding your customers so you can build a stronger bond with them? Here are some key steps:
Step 1 - Schedule time to sit down and listen to triumphs and struggles. Unless you’re a psychic, it’s difficult to know exactly what a customer likes and dislikes about your business. Simply put, you need to sit down and talk with them to create a foundation for your relationship. Pay close attention to what they say, including tone and eye contact, and keep track of what topics spark joy and which ones are pain points.
Step 2 - Take what they have told you and dig deeper. Sometimes what a customer says may be high-level and superficial. Don’t let them get by with a simple answer. B2B (businss-to-business) topics tend to be complex and have many layers. Be careful in your approach but get the customer to think about the real issues, not the problem on the surface. A spot on your ceiling may be the surface level problem, but the major issue could be a leak in your roof.
Step 3 - Prioritize how to fix issues and set expectations. Once you know what’s really ailing your customers in relation to your business, it’s time to take a step back and figure out a solution. Huddle internally first if needed and map out how you can improve the customer relationship. Start with the smaller “wins” first to show progress and build confidence, but don’t let the customer think you’ve forgotten about the bigger issues. Laying out a timetable for resolving their problems is a nice way to stay aligned and in sync.
Step 4 - Stay in contact and follow up once the issues are resolved. Just because you’ve made a customer happy doesn’t mean they will stay that way. Don’t let old issues come back and don’t let new problems arise by falling out of touch. Have your customer success team set up a cadence of regular check-in meetings to keep communication lines open and honest.
In Part 2, we’ll get into more of the benefits of having strong relationships with customers. You’ve worked hard to get them, now what needs to be done to maintain and maximize opportunities? Check back later this week to find out!
About the Author:
Tamiko Fletcher is the VP and Head of Sales at TeamSupport. A dog enthusiast, she’s held key business development leadership positions at major companies for over a decade.