Why the real value of your business lies in the strength of your client relationships

There was a fantastic article in the Daily Mail a few years ago about a GP in Portsmouth who was retiring after 32 years and the fact that his patients waited up to four hours to say goodbye to him. “Described affectionately as a ‘good old fashioned’ doctor, Dr Richard Hughes was adored for the way he took time to get to know people and talk through their issues - rather than to simply treat patients as 'a number’.

His decision to retire from Hanway Medical Practice in Portsmouth, Hampshire, was met with dismay and receptionists were deluged with requests for appointments with the 60-year-old medic just so people could wish him farewell. But staff were unable to fit them all in, so decided to open specially for two hours on a Saturday afternoon to accommodate their requests.”

Wouldn’t we like our clients to do that for us? Wouldn’t it be great to know that what we do is valued so highly that people take the time and trouble to thank us publicly for our efforts? Well creating real customer value is not that difficult. You just need to remember that nurturing relationships with your customers is a crucial part of growing a successful business.

Let’s be honest in this age of social media and the internet, an unhappy client can share their thoughts and opinions with the masses and have an almost instant effect on your business. Which is why I believe that it’s essential to create an excellent experience for your clients so that they trust what you say and do and are intensely loyal, and of course they are happy to refer their family and friends too.

Walt Disney had it about right when he said: “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”

And a recent survey backs this up with two key findings:

  • As many as 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.
  • Up to 60% of consumers will pay more for a better customer experience.

So here are my top tips to help you create a customer-focused culture that will ensure you stand out from the rest.

  1. Treat your customers’ right (as a value partner) – Genuinely interact and talk as real people in a timely manner with a friendly and personable outlook.
  2. Always listen – Hear what your customers are saying when it comes to surveys, social media, forums, customer service etc. and make visible changes where needed.
  3. Continue to satisfy – Offer ongoing support and offers where needed in the hope of up-selling the customer to buy more. But don’t forget to make sure you know who is responsible for what.
  4. Build trust – Advise your customers about change (good or bad) and make recommendations to them based on knowledge, expertise and an in-depth understanding of their exact needs.
  5. Be transparent – Honesty is crucial when it comes to making mistakes – remember to own up quickly and do everything in your power to make it right.
  6. Don’t over promise and under deliver – always follow up on what you said you would do by when you said you would do it.
  7. Always Say “Thank You” – Kindness and gratitude will make a big difference to how your customers view you and what you do.

For help in making sure that you are creating and offering genuine customer value, contact Vicky at Fuel on 07766 566690 or email vicky@fuelmarketing.co.uk