A customer’s relationship with a business or service provider is one that is expected to thrive for long once it is established. The reason for such relationships is to enable customers gain access to products and services to meet their needs. Business relationships may range from that which exists between an entity and its service providers such as external consultants or trainers, a customer’s relationship with a local store or bank, and the relationship you may have with the tomato and pepper seller in your local market. Such relationships are formed once a business entity wins the trust of a customer, but things do not end there. It takes a lot more for the relationship to be sustained.
Here are 5 things customers look out for in every business relationship
Adequate Knowledge on Product or Service Offering
Information is important for decision making and this also applies to buying decisions. Customers may not explicitly express this desire, but they expect sales professionals who offer products to them to have adequate knowledge about key product features. The same can be said of service providers. I recently had an encounter with a sales professional who was getting me to buy a 4G speed broadband service. I asked the simple question of the difference between that and the 3G which I am now using, and she was found wanting. She lacked adequate knowledge about the product she was selling and therefore lost a potential sale opportunity. If I’m soliciting the service of an external consultant, I need to be convinced that they have adequate knowledge and are experts in the acclaimed area. Likewise when I visit the market, I desire to buy from market women who can confidently tell me the desirable features of the products they sell.
Honest and reliable information
In order to win the trust and loyalty of customers, be truthful and honest with them. Most customers are reasonable human beings who do not expect “care delivered from heaven” because they have solicited business from you. Businesses should beware and desist from over promising, only to under deliver, as this practice will rather chase their customers away for good. I had a very unpleasant experience with a bank when I walked in to open an account with them. Upon a successive account opening, I was told my cheque book will be ready after three days. I thought it was too good to be true but quietly walked away. I enquired two weeks after only to be told the cheque book was yet to be ordered. It took an additional two weeks for delivery, and by then I had closed the new account because of a lack of trust for the people who provided service to me. Three days had now changed to four weeks. Don’t think it is convenient to fabricate stories to customers just to get them off your back; you may be losing businesses that will cost your business a life time!
Value for Money & Responsiveness to Needs
Customers expect to receive value for every cedi they pay out to acquire a product or service. Your product or service quality is key to maintaining good relationships with customers. How responsive are you to the needs of customers once you have won them over? Do you have a reasonable returns period for purchased but unwanted or damaged items? Or as a service provider are you just concerned about taking your money after service is rendered? I recently shopped at a local supermarket and could do with assistance to carry some of the bulky items to the car. A clueless shop assistant sat at the exit and was only interested in checking my receipt against the items to make sure every item was paid for. She turned away once her exercise was completed and I was left to my own fate. That was a clear irresponsive behavior.
Service providers in training and consulting should be interested in conducting post service reviews and provide minor add-on services, sometimes at no extra cost to clients to ensure value is created for service they have rendered.
Speed and efficiency in Service delivery
Time is money indeed. In our part of the world the essence of time is mostly under-valued but businesses that place timeliness of service as key to service delivery stand to gain. Customers do not desire to wait for thirty long minutes just to make a simple enquiry at the bank. When I have expressly stated that I need a particular delivery by midday, a wrong impression is formed on my mind if you deliver at 4pm with the explanation of broken down motor bike. Speed and efficiency in service delivery is key to building trust and loyalty amongst customers
Fair and reasonable prices service
Today’s information and internet age has given a lot of power to customers. Customers now have a variety of choices as to where to acquire products and services from. Businesses should be mindful of competition and offer prices that are fair and reasonable in order to remain competitive. You don’t necessarily need to price exorbitantly because your items are of good quality. Your customers may discover an online shop offering the same products for much lesser prices and acquire from it. In other words, you may lose customers to competitors if you charge unfair and unreasonable prices.
Irrespective of the size and nature of your business, following the above cues would ensure that you maintain a long lasting relationship with your customers.
Author: Amma Adjeiwaa Antwi || M-DoZ Consulting
About M-DoZ Consulting
M-DoZ Consulting offers Business Consulting, Corporate Training and Retirement Planning Services. Areas of expertise include Talent Development, Strategic Planning, Retail Operations, Business Communication, Risk Management, Customer Service Excellence and others. You can contact us on: Tel: +233247-247-200, +23320-1196-080
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