Mind Management: Manage the Relationship

How can we improve our client relationship? Thousands of companies are recognising that success lies in finding answers to this question. In many cases it’s more critical than that – winning greater favour with clients can prevent business failure.

Revenue comes from sales and service. Sales and service take place between individuals not corporate entities. Whilst sales techniques and marketing strategies are necessary, and even vital, it is more important to build personal relationship with the customer or client for them to have any empathy with you or your company. The strength of that personal relationship determines the potential success of the commercial relationship.

A simple answer to that key question on improving relaionships is to fulfil basic human need and desire to feel important. Give service beyond expectations and you will reap the rewards. And in today’s world there is often little to differentiate the product of one company from another. In most cases only 10 percent of your sales success can be attributed to your product or knowledge – an overwhelming 90 percent depends on your relationship with the client.

The first step in establishing successful strategy is to ask yourself, if you were the client, how would you want to be treated? (The same should apply to employer/employee relationships.) If that strategy is followed, healthier more creative workplace should emerge.

If the differentiator is not the product you offer, you need to create service that people will want and are not getting from anyone else.

Mission statements and their status within companies are good indication of commitment to customer service. Seven out of 10 New Zealand employers admit that mission statements emphasising customer satisfaction are fiction. Dr Nevan Wright, lecturer in business at Auckland University of Technology, surveyed 356 middle and senior managers from New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Asia and South Africa. Sixty percent of respondents don’t believe in their organisation’s mission statement, stating that financial results are more important than customer service.

Those companies that do fulfil their mission statement (emphasising customer service) are reaping the rewards. Customers know what’s in it for you – they want to know what’s in it for them. What are you offering to make them feel special? What’s your uniqueness? If they can find the professional service they want elsewhere they will abandon you in second.

Allocate resources to educate your staff in attitude, personal development, performance and customer-relationship building. Develop appropriate customer appraisal systems. Ensure your team enacts your corporate mission statement. Service your customers so they become part of your team and want you to succeed.

Accountability of both individuals and corporations is the commercial theme of the 21st century. Today’s punishing marketplace will reward those who do good job and demolish those who don’t.

Charles Donoghue PAS, FNZIM is an Auckland-based author, perfromance psychology coach and business consultant.
Email: [email protected]

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