Tag Archives: relationships

6 Principles Behind Superior Customer Service

Whether you got it from books, had a mentor tell it to you straight, or  learned from a bad experience as a customer yourself,  it stills bears repeating: Businesses need to respect their customers — these people are their lifeblood.

Customers don’t stay where they don’t feel welcome or heard. Customers won’t stay when they feel that they’re being mistreated, cheated, or used. Entire libraries have been written about taking care of customers, and in the course of human error, we still fumble when it comes to providing good customer service.

There are basic steps that all businesses should take to give better customer service than the competition. There are also right and wrong ways to handle customer complaints, as well as some misguided ways of thinking that can lead to poor service.

Here are 6 principles to help you handle the customer relationship well.

1) Take the long view for your business and build for it.

Have you ever thought of cultivating customers relationships like an orchard?

One-time purchases are one thing, but people know that selling once doesn’t automatically beget a relationship, and for businesses to survive and thrive long-term, they have to be about relationships.

Think about all the money and labor that goes in converting leads into sales. Consider the effort invested in identifying and channeling high-value sales-leads into your most frequent, loyal customers — your ‘raving fans’.

Cultivation in this sense means paying attention and taking care of the customers you’ve earned through your hard work. You want to keep them,  you have to take care of the ones you’ve got. You planted the seeds of trust, you nurture the relationships you’ve built, and you grow an ‘orchard.’

It’s not just “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” and all. Build enough customer relationships and you also build a community. A community take time to grow and to maintain, but when you take care of it, it can also offer you support in return.

A supportive customer community is also your best advertising and marketing tool. They can promote you with recommendations and word-of-mouth advertising.

Based on the phenomenon of “raving fans”, all  businesses serious about their survival need to build strong, long-term customer relationships, and their business practices and philosophies need to reflect that.

Business isn’t just about closing sales — not if they want to to be great ones. Businesses can also be change agents. when you keep making good products and work to maintain good relationships with your customers, you can make a real difference. Continue reading 6 Principles Behind Superior Customer Service

How To Level Up In Your Business Relationships

Anyone who’s ever built a successful business, or is on their way to doing so, would recognize the truth that relationships are important.

Very probably, these people’s  business started from an idea inspired by watching or seeing something that was created by others. Then these entrepreneurs joined the dots in their own fashion, and came up with the concept for their business.  And they got the ball rolling.

  • They did the research, tapped resources, reached out and emailed, called up or posted in forums, asking for help.
  • They worked on  getting the start-up capital, maybe even through setting it up through crowd-funding, or even the good old family loan.
  • They set up their online presence: a website, the shopping cart, the payment system, the blog, the works.
  • The business  went from an idea, to a business plan scratched out during a session in a coffee shop somewhere, to a real, working entity online.

At this  point, it’s easy to hazard a guess that you’re reading in the hopes of getting helpful information …and it’s already in the first paragraph: Relationships are important. Continue reading How To Level Up In Your Business Relationships

Who Do You Work With?

22 November 2013, by A. Cedilla

The most basic business-customer relationship is this: you make the product or provide a service, the customer buys it, or pays you to do something for them. Money for tangible goods or service. That’s it, reduced to its simplest terms.

Real-world customer relationships and businesses are definitely more complex than that though, because at the heart of it it’s about people.

Who sources and supplies the materials? Who makes the products? Who sells it, who buys it, who benefits from it all throughout concept to final product?

On the first level you may be working for yourself — you’re running your own online business, or for other people.

You may be working with partners (joint ventures) or with your affiliates, or even be an affiliate.

You may be running a side business while holding down a full-time job reporting to someone higher up. We do what we have to to make it through in these times. You have to support yourself, and maybe-probably the people you care for — which is a whole other sphere of responsibility. Whoa.

Think past the surface of ‘for’ or ‘under’ or ‘to’. See the connections.

The second definition of ‘customer’ currently in Wikipedia is quite appropriate for this discussion, even if it’s colloquial: “(Informal) A person, especially one engaging in some sort of interaction with others. Ex. a cool customer, a tough customer, an ugly customer.”

You engage in some sort of interaction with others, and many of those interactions happen in established relations, business or personal. The people you work with are your co-workers, partners, bosses, managers, subordinates. The people you work with can also include family members (you’re part of a unit, whether spousal and it’s just the two of you, or you’re also a parent, someone’s child, sibling, cousin, in-law, etc.)

Relationships are how we work. Nobody lives in a vacuum. Who do you work with? ID your more important relationships and dig. Continue reading Who Do You Work With?

7 Questions and 4 Things To Develop Clarity

08 November  2013, by A. Cedilla

  • Would you drive around with fantastically dirt-smeared front windows on your car?
  • Or — here’s another scenario — drive with squeaky-clean windshields, but in a pea-soup fog?
  • How about walking around with fogged-up glasses? Or going about your business with cracked lenses? Or glasses with the wrong prescription?

We’re a visual species. Any way you hack it, the ability to see and envision things clearly is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal, and not just in a purely physical, eyesight sort of way.

What we see we accept as real. Things we ‘downplay’ –they tend to ‘fade into the sunset.’ Or into the background.
What doesn’t register doesn’t get done. The little things that our eyes slide over can come back to trip us up.

  • Thus the warning about “reading the fine print” and “out of sight, out of mind.”
  • This also applies to ‘keeping your eyes on the prize.’ Or the goal. Or the ball.
  • See what I mean?

These scenarios are based on visual imagery. That’s how deeply it runs, and something rooted so thoroughly in our whole way of, haha, seeing and moving in the world deserves to be examined and leveraged on a personal level, so we can live and spend our days more wisely. The obstacle though, lies in doing uncomfortable things that ask a lot from us.

 

Practicing to develop clearer vision is an involved process, and any beneficial result will not be gained without discomfort and uncertainty involved. It can take a cutting sense of honesty to develop discernment (from ‘discere‘ , Latin for “to cut, separate or divide”) and to start slicing away at blinders we didn’t know we had on, or scraping away at things that have been obscuring our vision.

We’re asked to look at things we’d rather not, or imagine doing things that run counter to what we’ve accepted as as good sense. In a way, this is a self-protective reflex to avoid discomfort. But in a more mature sense, discomfort is only a natural part of the price we pay to be able to grow into a deeper strength, and developing clarity is certainly a strength. Continue reading 7 Questions and 4 Things To Develop Clarity

Strong Networking : Building Relationships Of A Different Flavor

28 October 2013, by A. Cedilla

The level of technology accessible to people today has certainly let single proprietorships flourish. Solo-preneurs can make their mark on their own website, or manage sideline businesses on virtual marketplaces like Etsy and Artfire for the crafters, or eBay, Craiglist and Amazon for anyone wanting to sell particular items.

The other half of the paradox fueling this phenomenon is that nobody ever really does it alone. Businesses have always needed customers, yes, but nurturing successful customer relationships is only part of the whole network. Establishing the network itself takes all kinds — technical support from your internet provider, for example, and your web-host team. Then there’s stuff like suppliers, delivery services, payment processing, security in terms of information protection (back-up and encryption) and keeping financial details secured, then there’s financial services (yes, credit lines are important, even if you’re keeping it ‘in the family’ — if not also keeping one with actual banks.)

Nobody does it alone. In tough times, relationships help us keep afloat and somewhat sane. In tech times, relationships still help us survive, and when we use them to help others up, we end up helping the whole network get better.

Strong networking gets you the following:

  • More people in the pool of knowledge anchors (experts) and exposure to experiences that sharpen your own skills.
  • More exposure to practice your own people skills. One notable personal skill to have, one that many experts say ranks above technical skills (which can be addresses with training) is getting along with different types of people. Emotional intelligence is just as, if not more, important as the skill sets needed to run the nuts-and-bolts side of running your own enterprise.
  • More opening to help other people up, and get the chance to be helped up as well. It’s not ‘just business’, it’s personal. You take the risk of getting out there, and in learning things about people, you also learn about yourself. You can grow as a person as well as grow a sense of community and connection. This affects all the areas of your life, not just the facets covering making money.

Continue reading Strong Networking : Building Relationships Of A Different Flavor