Building Successful Customer Relationships: There's Five
Points To A Star!
The star. A symbol of ultimate success, what everyone wants
to attain. Remember when you were in grade school and you
completed your task successfully? With what did your teacher
reward you? A star. In the business of e-commerce stardom
isn't as easy to achieve as it was back then.
It's a faceless, un-personal web we've woven. How do we
overcome this obstacle as a service or product retailer? We
follow the five points to stardom! There is a way to
successfully build a relationship and break through the
un-personal nature of our business.
Point 1: Sympathy
The most important part of your business endeavor. I'm
talking about being sympathetic to your customer. Listen to
the needs of your customer. Understand the needs of your
customer. Know what the need is of the customer related to
your product or service, and create a product or service
sympathetic to that need.
Example: You determine a need has arisen for affordable
banner design for small internet businesses. Small business
owners don't usually have the amount of money that large
corporations have to advertise their business. Developing an
affordable alternative will not only be lucrative for your
business but also for the small business owner. It's a
Point 2: Sense of Urgency
Providing your product or service with a sense of urgency is
of utmost importance. If a customer has to continue to wait
for a response from your company on an order, an email, or
even a quote it could mean a loss of business for you.
Advice: Respond to your customers within 24 hours at
the least. If you can respond within 6-12 you are more
likely to gain a business relationship. Waiting 2-3 days to
return an email is unacceptable. Unless your site policies
state otherwise (and in advance to the customer) more than
14 business days is too long to wait for a product or
service. Return any quotes for pricing or service requests
as soon as possible. Most likely the person that requested
the information is in search of someone or something, "right
Point 3: Smile
This is an important point. Presenting yourself positively
in any of your communication is extremely important for your
business. Have you ever heard the saying "Believe in
yourself, and others will believe in you?" Apply this to
your business. Believe in what you have to offer and "smile"
in every communication with your customer. You're asking
yourself "how the heck do we "smile" over the internet?
Advice: Smiling goes beyond you sitting behind your
computer in a good mood. We all know your customer can't see
your smile, but they can read it, feel it, and hear it! When
responding to an email, add that extra touch. Make your
communication through your writing and your images on your
site "positive". Remember that your website is your "face"
to the world. Be sure to put your make-up on and comb your
Example: Here's an email response from a happy person
and a not so happy person. You be the judge. Which email
would you rather receive?
Customer: I'm looking for someone to design my website. Can
you quote me on a price for an entire package? How long do
you think it will take to complete the project? Tammy
Response from Jeanne: Tammy, I'd LOVE to help you!
What is the name of your website and do you have any ideas
for what you'd like it to look like? The pricing on an
average package including your banner, button, logo, slogan,
and backgrounds is $100.00. Depending on how long it takes
us to decide on colors etc. I usually complete work within
one week. I really appreciate your request and look forward
to working with you soon! Thanks! Jeanne
Response from Jenny: I do graphic design work. My
prices can be found on www.mygraphicsite.com. You can see
the pricing under "prices". How long it takes depends on you
and how fast you get me the information.
Did you feel the "smile" in Jeanne's response? Did you feel
the "smile" in Jenny's response?
Jeanne did this perfectly! We'll give her a star! What did
Jeanne do right?
Responded to her customer using the customer's name.
Gave that extra touch with the "I'd LOVE to help you".
Immediately asked for the customer's feedback.
Quoting her a price even though she knows that the prices
were clearly on her site. (We've all been there right?)
Closing with another positive remark about working with the
client really soon.
Great job Jeanne!
Point 4: Surprise
Surprise your customer with something extra! In this world
of e-commerce the likeliness that your site is the only one
of its kind is probably next to nothing. You have to make
yourself stand out. Adding that extra touch or going that
extra mile for each of your customers makes them feel
special. In return they'll come back to you when they need
something else or they'll refer their friends. Never
underestimate the power of "word of mouth". We'll cover that
in another article!
Example: Adding something special or surprising a
customer with something extra doesn't have to cost a thing!
Of course you can add an extra product to their order, but
sometimes the extras are simpler than that. Providing
something for FREE on your site such as content, a
newsletter, or even a free graphic is something that will
make your customer feel special. Not to mention it's a great
way to drive in some traffic to your site!
Real life application: I had the pleasure of working with
Shea Cooper owner of www.CountryDoodleDoo.com recently. She
redid some graphics for my site www.TheCandleCoop.com. Upon
completion of my order she sent me an "extra" email. Upon
opening the email I saw her note that thanked me for being a
customer and said she always provided her customers with
free wallpaper for their desktops to match their site. I was
thrilled. I was impressed with how quickly Shea responded,
how she took on the project with a sense of urgency, and the
way she made me feel special by sending something extra. So
impressed, I brought her on board at www.AdvertisingMoms.com
as our exclusive country graphic designer! See relationships
do pay off!
Point 5: Suggestions
Remember back on point 3 when we talked about listening?
Practice that skill again. Only this time not only listen,
but ask too! Ask your customers what they would like to see
on your site. Ask them about any new colors or products
they'd be interested in. A great way to do this is offer a
feedback or suggestions form. You can even go the extra mile
to email them personally! Whatever you do, ask, ask, ask!
Ask for feedback from customers. Ask for suggestions from
other web owners. One thing is for sure, you won't find out
if you don't ask! Prepare yourself for the answers you'll
receive when you do ask. This could possibly be the hardest
thing to do, because they might not always be the answers
you want to hear. Nevertheless, take the suggestions into
consideration, decide what is best for you and take action!
We've covered five points to stardom; sympathy, sense of
urgency, smile, surprise, and suggestions. Following these
five points is no guarantee to a successful venture.
However, I can guarantee you'll feel like a star!
Tara Crooks is the site owner and editor of
. She is a PROUD Army Wife and WAHM!