“You don’t call, you don’t write, I was just a one-night stand to you!” Wow, harsh words I heard in a movie but very true when it comes to customers for many businesses.
I have often used the analogy of courting when it comes to the relationship of business to customer. Think about it, what are you trying to accomplish in the customer relationship? I think most businesses would like to get married rather than just a one-night stand. However, like many a more pruriently minded person, so many businesses opt for the one-night stand and never make that next-morning call to begin building a longer term relationship.
What’s necessary to get to that pinnacle of “marriage” with your customers? Here are few things that come to mind:
- Get to know them as people rather than objects of selfish motives
- Show them that you really care about them
- Consider what’s best for them first
- Put your best foot forward by looking good and behaving at your best
- Apologize when you disagree and share gestures of good will to make up
- Communicate regularly and share things they need to know or that they might just find interesting
- Give special gifts to show how much you appreciate them
- Always do your best for them and try to make them happy
These are the things that lead to long-term relationships. Yes, they require effort. Yes, there are costs to some of them. And yes, doing them takes time. However, much like all great long-term relationships, there are rewards that make it all worth it. In personal life, there comes contentment, love, and happiness; in business, it’s loyalty, advocacy, and financial success.
Ask yourself, is my organization building long-term relationships or are we just making one-night stands? If your answers are more short-term, how can you make the change in thinking to a long-term relationship frame of mind? What processes, procedures, and policies need to change for your organization to move toward longer lasting relationships with your customers?
As with any human relationships, trust, care, and yes, a little love are necessary to make them something that is worthwhile and strong. Businesses can do this with customers if they make the jump from profit first to people first. It’s surprising to me how many don’t make that jump and how many simply don’t see that a people-first motive ultimately gets more profits than the profit-first motive. It’s high time businesses get rid of their commitment issues and start looking at getting “married” to their customers, and you can start the change today. Take a look at your organization and really ask the question, “Are we demonstrating long-term relationship motives or are we just in it for the one-night stand?” If the honest answer is the latter, get on the phone and make that next-morning call, begin the hard work of building a relationship that is meaningful and rewarding.