Too often, businesses don’t place enough value on building positive relationships with their customers. The term itself, “positive relationship”, is a bit generic and isn’t exactly easy to quantify. This means it’s often a factor many businesses ignore and takes on a lower priority over time.
However, especially in the B2B (business-to-business) industry, the value of the customer relationship is increasing. More companies are adding “customer success” teams and specialists to stay in close contact with customers. They’ve realized that even though keeping customers happy is great, having positive relationships can provide you with key information you need to grow your business.
Simply put, customers will be more honest when they trust you, and honest feedback is what you need to improve your product and entire organization. With all of this said, here are a few ways to build positive relationships with B2B customers and earn their trust…
Put forth extra effort to get started on the right foot – So many companies still pamper customers until they sign on the dotted line, only to vanish into thin air afterwards. You can’t just expect that they know the path to success with your company. Instead, offer extensive customer training and consulting until they are comfortable with your business, and maintain a constant flow of positive communication throughout the relationship. Not every time you speak with them needs to be because you made a mistake.
Do your homework before engaging with a customer – Make sure you leverage a customer database or customer support software solution to learn all about the customer before seeking out a deep dialogue. When did they become a customer? How do they feel about your business? Are there any specific tactics or strategies for working with them? This information can only help in choosing the right communication tone and path.
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Always be ready to communicate how they want to – Don’t expect every single customer to love speaking to you on the phone because you find it more valuable or productive. Instead, observe how each customer prefers to interact with you (chat, email, phone) and talk to them the way they want to communicate. The customer will become more comfortable in talking with you, and then they’ll be more open to the channels you prefer as well.
Prioritize listening and learning over speaking in your conversations – If you let them, most customers will usually tell you everything you need to know to form a positive relationship. Instead of formulating a plan and pushing it on them, sit back and listen to their wants, needs, issues, successes, and more. This way, you can better understand them and also learn how your business can elevate their objectives and strategies even further.
In short, it’s not that difficult to build a positive relationship with B2B customers. The keys are doing your homework and being there as a guide when needed, not dragging them along for some pre-planned journey on your terms. Sit back, listen, and craft unique strategies for each customer. You’ll see that, in the long run, customers will value the personalized interactions and will be more comfortable providing honest and authentic feedback when needed.