Relationships Are Key to Retention
To perform well in today’s competitive marketplace there must be a commitment to the personalization and humanization of every interaction. Top business owners from virtually every industry we serve gave these as the hallmark for effective customer and team member relationships. The ability to relate to people in a personal and human way draws them to desire to relate to and with you. Whether conducting marketing campaigns, greeting a caller, or leading a new internal initiative, the ability to connect with people on a personal level is essential. Many business leaders to whom I spoke talked about writing or speaking to people from their perspective was the most important thing in establishing a relationship.
With this is mind as a cornerstone of elevating performance in today’s economy, consider both your customer and team member constituents. Realizing that most industries, products and even services are commoditized in the court of public opinion, focusing on the customer’s perspective from the very first interaction is essential if not vital. To execute this brilliantly:
1. Write/market to specific individuals. Communications that begin with “Dear business owner” or “Valued client” are not a personalized or humanized communiqué. Further it commoditizes the recipient or the reader, which in a market where the consumer’s perspective rules, immediately diminishes connection.
2. Be gracious and elevate inquiries by:
- Having your team answer the phone with enthusiasm and when transferring the call, say, “May I place you on hold?” versus “Hang on a second” or “Please hold” etc.
- Using “old school” manners in a commoditized marketplace connects with people in ways that drive business. Just ask the Ritz Carlton or the Four Seasons.
3. When opening a discovery conversation be sure to focus on what the prospect wants versus what you want. Asking, “What three things do you want to accomplish, discuss, identify, solve, gain insight on, etc. today” is far more relational than launching into your capabilities and abilities first. Remember, the sale does move forward when they have the floor.
Your team wants and needs to relate to you and each other. Here are some things we do that may be useful to you.
1. Each week whoever is “in residence” at our corporate headquarters has lunch together on the corporate account. The theme is “all fun no business.” It created spirit de corps and allows everyone to feel part of an organization that is made up of people that care about them personally.
2. Every morning our corporate support team gathers for 15-20 minutes in a stand-up meeting. Everyone has the role of equal opportunity contributor. Topics are brief and center on who is on what project, what are the priorities, who needs assistance or perhaps coverage, etc. The advantage – they relate and respect each other. Plus it saves many interruptions throughout the day.
3. Also on Monday, unless I am speaking at a client event, I Skype in for a 30 minute staff meeting. The entire discussion is how can I help or how they can help me. The result – personalization and humanization. Everyone feels supported and that they count, and they do!
What will you do to consistently personalize and humanize client and team interactions?