Written by Sonal Jaiswal | Evangelist, Customer Guru
Valentine’s day brings an air of love and warmth with itself. And I thought that this was the perfect time to share some interesting thoughts on what our partners teach us about Customer Experience.
We have all been and are in relationships, and have certainly learned a lot from them. Sometimes, we burnt our fingers with not-so-good experiences, but, we have always come out better people. The relationship we have with our partners is very similar to the relationship companies have with their customers. This Valentine’s Day, let’s learn a lesson or two that our partners teach us about customer experience and bring back some love to the customer relationship too! Here’s my take on it:
The best thing your partners teach you is to trust one another – blindly and unconditionally.
Think of it this way, your customer does exactly that when he comes to you. He trusts you to help him with his requirements, to guide him all through, and to resolve his needs and problems. Imagine what a breach of trust it is when a customer is promised a lot of things but doesn’t get them!
In the same way, when a customer is raising grievances or giving feedback, trust him and make his problem yours – exactly what you do when your partner faces hardships. Then, do all you can to solve the problem for the customer, ensuring he has a memorable relationship with you.
“Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or friendship, is conversation.” – Oscar Wilde
Ah! These words are so true. All of us know how important communication is in a relationship: a healthy, honest and open communication is the cornerstone of any good relationship. Unless two people communicate effectively, how will they be able to appreciate each other or point out the challenges they are facing?
The role that communication plays in your relationship with customers is as important, if not more. Communicate transparently and honestly with them, do not over-promise, and always set their expectation right. It is important that both you and your customer are on the same page. This will ensure that your relation with them thrives as good communication ensures customer satisfaction, in turn improving loyalty.
Also, encourage your customers to communicate openly and freely with you. Be available to them across platforms and channels. Getting customers to communicate and engage with you has never been more easy than today. However, only communicating and listening intently will not suffice. You must also ensure that you work on their requests and feedback to make your product/service better.
When you love a person, your happiness tends to be associated with your partner’s. Hence, you try to do all it takes to make him/her happy. Subconsciously, you become more empathetic and less selfish.
How amazing it would be to do the same to your customers: to go the extra mile and to do all it takes to keep the customer happy. The customers would have a fantastic customer experience and you’d never have to worry about customer churn.
In a relationship, we understand and accept that every person is unique and different. We understand that none of us are the same. Despite all these difference, we accept and love our partners unconditionally.
In the same manner, we must accept and love our customers without any conditions and biases, irrespective of their demands, complaints, and attitudes. We must love them so much that they would never want to move to any other brand.
When you are in a relationship, you learn to take ownership and responsibility not just of yourself and your actions but also of the other person involved. You understand that your thoughts, actions, and words have an impact on the other person and can affect them. Hence, you must be thoughtful of what you think, what you do, and what you say.
Isn’t it the same when you are dealing with a customer? Any action of yours is going to impact customers – existing and potential – in multifarious ways. It is important to take ownership of delivering what is promised and exceeding the expectations of the customer.
Love is a symbiotic relationship – there is a little bit of giving and a little bit of taking involved. Your relationship with your customer is analogous to this. You give your customers what they need and earn their trust and happiness, ensuring that they open up their heart and wallet for you! Conversely, when customers are giving you their hard-earned money, they are expecting to get the best customer experience possible.
You’d have noticed this very often – if on one day your partner is hot tempered, you learn to stay calm and patient, and vice-versa. If you spend a little too much, your partner looks at cutting expenses. Nope, as a couple, you are not compromising. As partners, you are only complementing each other. On another day, the reverse could be true.
It is exactly this that you must establish with your customers. On a day when a customer is grumpy and complaining, be the calm one and get the best solution to please him. On a day when he doesn’t want to spend too much, maybe you must lure him with your products and make him spend some more!
The last and probably the most important half-a-lesson: to make a relationship successful, it is important to forgive each other and remember the importance of each other in our lives. Similarly, when an irate customers vent out on you, even when it is not your fault, forgive and help them recover from the bad experience. If as a company, you are the one who made a mistake, reach out and apologise to your customers – they will forgive and get back to doing business with you. It is a mutually beneficial relationship: just like you need them, they need your product and services too.
We fight, we make-up, we agree to disagree but we never stop caring for and loving each other – that, in a nutshell, is the lesson that any relationship teaches us. Do exactly that with your customers. Just NEVER stop loving them! Believe me, the customers will never stop loving you back!
Wishing each one of you all the love and happiness that the universe has to offer! Happy Valentine’s Day!
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