I am writing this article from Nairobi where I traveled to carry out a print job for the Service Magazine that is soon to be launched. Before arriving here, I had in my possession three different price quotations with approximately the same rates except for one which was slightly higher than the other.
I arrived at the airport at about 6 am and I was welcomed by Jane, one of the company’s marketing staff. She had a big smile which gave me less reason to worry about the odd hour of the day.
When we arrived at the premises of her place of work, she gave me a tour of the factory and introduced me to almost everyone.
Jane helped me go to the bank, organize my other appointments, found people to help me and offered to drive me back to the hotel. She almost became part of our team.
The company Jane represents deals with bigger contracts than my small order. The Director said something very interesting about their concept of customer service.
“Customer service is all about relationships, it’s not about the money. If our customers have good relationships with us, we are sure that we will have good businesses in the future with them.”
Customer service is really not about prices. This company was actually the one with the higher prices but we decided to work with them because of the trust we had in them.
A company’s rates or prices might be higher but if customers see the value of an offer, they will have no reservation in buying your services. Companies should not fool themselves into thinking that all that customers look for are low prices .
It is no secret that a strong relationship with a customer is the key element in the success of a company. Below are some key actions that will create that stronger relationship with your customers.
Care about your customers
Care is an important element in creating good relationships with your customers. You need to care about the needs of your customers, what they like, who they are etc.
If you do not care, a customer can tell. Care also implies empathy. Dr Maya Angelou said that, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Show care and you can be sure that your customers will not forget that.
Go the extra mile
Be helpful even if there’s no immediate profit in it. Whatever the extra step may be, if you want to provide good customer service, take it. Your customers might not say so to you, but people always notice when you make an extra effort.
To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money and that is sincerity and integrity says Douglas Adams.
Trust will be one of the strongest things you can do in order to build a better relationship with your customer.
The reason is that people will buy from someone they trust. When you trust someone, you know you are getting a good product, at a good price, and that they care enough to help if there were problems.
If you listen to your customer, you will build a stronger and better relationship. Anyone can talk but it takes a wise person to listen. Take time to listen and understand. Do not jump into conclusions or assumptions. Every customer is different and so are his/her needs.
Customer service is all about relationships. You need to take time to create emotional relationships with your customers.
In my case, will you be surprised if I say that I’ll definitely recommend Jane’s company to anyone who wants professional and quality printing in Nairobi? And this is exactly what good relationships with your customers can do, free advertisement for you and your company.
The author is a customer service consultant working in Rwanda.