Ashley Collins discusses Building Customer Relationships

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Barbara Gabogrecan
President

Re: Ashley Collins discusses Building Customer Relationships

Postby Ashley Collins » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:50 am

The 4th R in Customer Relationships is Restore. If you approach each interaction with customers using the first 3 Rs (Rapport, Read, Respond), there probably won’t be many times that you need to restore the relationship.

Minor problems handled poorly can easily escalate and jeopardise a customer relationship, if there is a low level of rapport. But even having continually invested in building rapport by asking yourself “how can I add value to the relationship?”, every now and then, something will happen to threaten the relationship. It may be a misunderstanding or that what was promised has not been delivered.

Often an appropriately delivered acknowledgement is enough to restore the situation. I try to say sorry as quickly as possible, “Sorry that this is happened to you, how can I help?” calms even the most aggressive customer and allows you to start addressing the problem.
It is important to establish what they understand to have happened. You serve your company best not by defending the past but working towards a mutually agreeable solution. Remember “Always be building rapport.”

7 steps for handling complaints
1. Acknowledge the customer’s complaint / problem.
2. Use active listening & encourage the customer to talk.
3. Discern between emotions and facts
4. Commit to addressing the issue
5. Keep the customer informed of the progress
6. Establish a mutually agreeable solution
7. Resolve the problem quickly, with a good attitude

How a company restores a customer relationship will significantly influence a customers’ loyalty. I am sure you have personal stories of how they way a company handled a complaint either winning you over into an even more loyal customer or determining that you would not deal with them again. Your goal is to restore the relationship so that the customer becomes a “raving fan” and tells others about you.

This leads to the 5th and final R of Customer relationships which I will discuss this afternoon.
Ashley Collins
Sales Coach
Driving Force Australia
http://www.drivingforce.com.au/hbba
Ashley Collins
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:00 am
Location: Melbourne

Re: Ashley Collins discusses Building Customer Relationships

Postby Ashley Collins » Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:58 pm

The 5th and final R in my series on Customer Relationships is Referrals. Social proof is a very strong way to add credibility to your product or service. There are two ways referrals work. They can be in the form of a reference or testimonial or the customer can refer a new customer to you.

Tips for asking for a reference /testimonial
The best time to ask is when a customer makes a positive statement about your product or service. Don’t just ask your customer for a testimonial. They may agree, but never get around to it. The other problem is they give you a personal testimonial – "I enjoyed working with Ashley". Whilst that is nice, it is not a strong as it could be. It is better, with their permission to interview them and then draft up what they have said for their approval. This way you can make sure the testimonial includes the key points that to which you believe future prospect will relate.

Questions to ask to prepare the draft Testimonial
• Tell me what things were like before you dealt with us – their specific issues, things other ideal clients would identify with.
• Why did you choose us/our product?
• What did we do?
• What was the outcome / the results?
• Why would you recommend us?
• Anything else you would like to add?

Asking for referrals
Often business people feel awkward about asking for a referral. A good time to ask for a referral is at the end of a transaction. Say for instance that you have completed a client’s tax return and they express how much they appreciated working with you. You could ask for a referral simply by saying, “So you have anyone else you know who might need their tax done. I have never had a customer offended that I asked this question. But it does prompt them to think of someone they would not have otherwise suggested. Give it a try.

Satisfied customers are usually happy to provide either a reference / testimonial or to refer prospects. If they aren’t, then this is an opportunity to ask how your product / service could have been better? At a minimum this feedback can help with future customer relationships but hopefully also in strengthening the current one.

Good luck with your business and building profitable long term customer relationships. Please feel free to contact me if you would like any help.
Ashley Collins
Sales Coach
Driving Force Australia
http://www.drivingforce.com.au/hbba
Ashley Collins
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:00 am
Location: Melbourne

Re: Ashley Collins discusses Building Customer Relationships

Postby Kathie Thomas » Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:04 pm

This is the first time I've read this thread and found a lot of useful information in it, plus confirmation of things that I've been doing too. I've always maintained that networking is about building relationships, the business will follow in due course.

Your comment about bad breath is important. I had a lady here at my place during the week, an Accountant, meeting with me in a 'one-on-one' meeting as she's a BNI member and we were learning about each other's businesses. But all I could think of was her bad breath that was coming in my direction. Not a pleasant experience. Only the week before I'd been to her office to see where she worked (and then she came to mine) and her office was messy. I must admit, that first impressions lead me to feel I won't be referring work to her as I wouldn't want anyone to have a bad, smelly and messy experience. But because she is a fellow (new) member of my BNI chapter I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and will go visit her on another occasion in a few months, to see if things have changed. She really hasn't instilled a lot of confidence for me however. The other thing that bothered me was that she constantly was putting people or things down. Almost everything she said was in a negative tone. Not a good way to build rapport with people at all.

I like to think I'm a sociable person and unlike Barbara :D am a very active person online with social networking tools. I work on a virtual basis with clients so that's how I connect with people too. However, I recognise the value in face-to-face connections which is why I belong to a local BNI chapter. I feel it's important to cover both bases. And when on the phone I like to practice the art of having a smile on my face as I know that makes a difference as to how my voice comes across with communicating with people.

A great list Ashley and thanks for sharing them.
Kathie M. Thomas, AFAIOP, MVA, ASO, Author, Speaker, VA Coach
"A Clayton's Secretary"®, Award-winning Virtual Assistant Services and Network, Est. 1994
Web: http://www.vadirectory.net
VA blog : http://www.vadirectory.net/acsblog/
VA Training: http://www.vatrainer.com
Kathie Thomas
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 2:20 pm
Location: Selby, Victoria

Re: Ashley Collins discusses Building Customer Relationships

Postby Barbara Gabogrecan » Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:34 am

Hi Kathie - I think you are giving your new acquaintance more than she deserves - a second chance, The one thing that would totally make me steer clear, is the 'putting people down' - there is no doubt in my mind that she will eventually find something to put you down for. It seems to me that people with that sort of personality seldom change their spots. It is one thing that I don't forgive and am awfully wary of.

So - good luck to you in your attempt to be a fair and generous person prepared to support her and give her that chance to come good.
Barb
Barbara Gabogrecan assists HBB's to market their business online
http://www.HomeBasedBusinessAustralia.org

Barbara is an artist specialising in silk painting; her video is on page one of You Tube http://youtu.be/1ZA9HObN_Go
http://www.SilkPaintingByGabogrecan.com/

Having survived a stroke and a brain tumour, Barbara wrote a book titled 'Thank God I Had a Stroke' to motivate and inspire others suffering from similar afflictions.
http://GabogrecanStrokeRecovery.com/
Barbara Gabogrecan
 
Posts: 341
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 12:57 pm

Re: Ashley Collins discusses Building Customer Relationships

Postby Kathie Thomas » Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:54 am

Thanks Barbara. People always have 'off' periods, I have them too. So it's possible she's going through a bad patch and trying to manage everything on her own. She did say someone was away when I visited her office so I will give her that second chance for next time I visit. But I do agree with you about people with negative attitudes. They can be very draining and we all need building up, not tearing down.
Kathie M. Thomas, AFAIOP, MVA, ASO, Author, Speaker, VA Coach
"A Clayton's Secretary"®, Award-winning Virtual Assistant Services and Network, Est. 1994
Web: http://www.vadirectory.net
VA blog : http://www.vadirectory.net/acsblog/
VA Training: http://www.vatrainer.com
Kathie Thomas
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 2:20 pm
Location: Selby, Victoria

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