Keeping customers happy is challenging in today’s scenario. Here is a simple way on how you can create a win-win relationship with customers and get ahead.
Care enough to create value for customers. If you get that part right, selling is easy.
There is a quote (1) on Customer, famous in the name of Gandhiji, without any source in many volumes of Gandhiji’s collected work. It goes like this:
A Customer is the most important visitor on our premises.
He is not dependent on us.
We are dependent on him.
He is not an interruption in our work.
He is the purpose of it.
He is not an outsider in our business.
He is a part of it.
We are not doing him a favor by serving him.
He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.
A very profound quote and I love it. We all know that Customer is the foundation of any business.
Today’s businesses operate in very competitive markets. Customers now have many choices. For many business leaders, acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones is a tough nut to crack.
How to create a win-win relationship with customers to have a sustainable business engagement?
The answer to this is three-fold, but straightforward.
- Deeply understand your customers and their business
- Go beyond financials and create value for your customers
- Create an organisation customers love to engage with
Before we go further, lets see who is the best customer?
The Best customer
For you/your organization, the best customer is the one who pays well. He gives you a better deal: better price, better margins, high growth potential, and maintains a conflict-free relationship. You will be more than happy to have anyone as your customer, who fulfills the above criteria.
How you do your business, give you the best customers? Let’s examine the conventional way of doing business.
Conventional Business strategy: Maximize the opportunity
The main objective of conventional business strategy is to enhance business with that customer, maximize everything you get from the customer: Revenue, Profits, etc. This approach is onesided.
Most of the time, you tend to lose what is it from the other side: the customer perspective, as the above approach is inward-looking.
In the conventional approach, none of the parameters evaluate how the customer is feeling by engaging you for the products or services that he desires to get from you.
Typically most of the businesses are run the conventional way.
This type of business engagement will not last long. It does not create a win-win situation for you and your customer.
Once the customer realizes that you are getting more returns from the engagement, he will try to optimize the price and reduce your profitability.
Alternatively, If he finds someone who offers the same product/service for a lower price, he will not hesitate to engage with him.
The new approach: Creating trust, loyalty and value
In my vast professional and entrepreneurial experience, I worked with many Customers. Most of my customers gave continuous and repeated business.
When I look carefully at what drove the engagement, it is firm trust and loyalty from both sides.
A close study of the relationship with the clients giving us continuous business revealed that we are engaging with them a lot more different, compared to the conventional business approach.
Building a good customer experience does not happen by accident. It happens by design.
We are able to build robust customer relationship on the following foundations:
Focus on the customer perspective, their problems, and how to offer our solutions by working around them.
Maintaining a delicate balance between our price and profitability, along with the benefits our customers should get by engaging our products and services and being vocal about them.
A deeper understanding of our customer business operations, decision making, budgets, approval systems, sensitivities, and constraints.
Flexibility in customizing our offerings, suiting to our customer’s requirements.
Empowering Team members to make decisions in the mutual interest of our organization and customer so that there are no procedural holdups.
With the above approach, we ensured complete organizational alignment between our customers and us. A lot of interactions happen across the organization’s departments and functions.
We work with our customers as real partners helping them achieve their business / operational goals and in the process of our goals too.
We’ve set our Core values as Customer Focus, Professionalism, and Reliability. We try very hard to imbibe these values as the culture of our organization and teams.
If we continue to do this with all of our customers, in the long run, this single capability can be the key differentiator and will be creating sustainable business opportunities for us. We already see the results.
Strong customer relationships drive sales, sustainability, and growth.
I hope the above approach helps you to nurture a win-win relationship with your customer. In case you want to know more about our customer engagement practices, drop me an email at vnvsatyandra[at]gmail[dot]com.
Before you go
Take a few minutes and reflect on the following:
- Who are your customers?
- How are you serving them?
- Are they happy with your products and services?
- Are you happy with having them as your customers?
- Are your engagements with your customers, fair deals?
- Is something to be fixed in the engagement? If so, what it is?
Answer honestly and ruthlessly for the above questions. If something is a miss, start fixing them. If you are not able to decide, just call your customer and take feedback.
Build trust, loyalty, and sustainable business will follow. You would also love your relationship with your customer.
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- Quote on Customer by Gandhiji, Mahatma Gandhi FAQs / Myths, https://www.gandhiashramsevagram.org/