As you become increasingly adept at building personal relationships with customers, a new dilemma crops up: How the heck do you keep track of all those personal details that comprise the lives of each customer? It does no good for anyone if you remember that Little Tommy plays football with the Little Town Cougars if the customer is an avowed bachelor who prefers cats and plants to people. It could be a real disaster if you begin to discuss the recent trip to Mexico with the customer who just spent a month skiing the Alps. People may take exception to "misremembered" life details like that!
So it is truly of utmost importance that those details that your customers have shared with you remain straight. Impeccably! The easiest way to do that is through the use of Customer Profile Cards. Having a formalized and uniform system to track important customer details and the history of contacts (and sales) for each is an extremely valuable resource in the building of your customer base. Plus, if that information is organized carefully, it can be used to mail birthday cards, anniversary cards or to make general catch-up contacts for each customer. Then, as new contacts occur, it becomes a routine part of your day to notate each, thus keeping up-to-date with each customer.
It is a significant part of the relationship with your customer to contact them by their preferred method. Some customers enjoy handwritten notes; others prefer phone calls; still others only want e-mails. Being certain to honor the preferences of each customer is important to enhance the relationship that you are building! Personalizing each communication imparts the exact value you hold for each customer.
Is it easier and most efficient to send mass e-mails? Maybe. For me personally, if a mass e-mail crosses my desk, it may get a cursory glance; generally it gets pushed right to the trash bin. Similarly, phone calls that are impersonal tend to be directed to voicemail, never to be retrieved! So while mass mailings, e-mails and phone calls seem to be effective, in reality, the communications that are personal and one-to-one based produce best interactions. They are tailored to each individual and therefore, communicate directly the value that each customer has.
It is my personal belief that customers react based on whether they feel they are classified as "customers" or as “personal friends”. If I am a customer, I feel no loyalty or pressure to shop repeatedly at a particular store. If I am a friend of the salesperson, when I need or want something that I can purchase from my friend, I am most likely to make a bee line to see that friend to make my purchase and to catch up with my friend! Relationships make the world of commerce enjoyable. Without it, satisfaction is generally minimal and uninspired.
Enjoying relationships with customers creates an awesome work environment and makes those interactions heartwarming and rewarding. Additionally, introducing your customer friends to your teammates adds depth to the relationship; just like introducing friends to other friends. In the team situation, it is important that customers know that, in your absence (or unavailability) they still have a viable resource upon which to rely. Again, adding dimension to your customer relationships and enhancing team interaction creates a positive environment for all concerned.
Creating the atmosphere that imparts value to all involved begins the formation of community or family; each individual entering the front door is a part of that community and the interrelatedness of that community benefits all who are a part of it.