Tiger Eye Solution

Why Your Business Needs to Build Better Relationahips

Relationships are important in life and in business. As a Business owner, you should also build professional relationships. Relationship building from a business standpoint can help you get new customers, retain current customers and manage your reputation.

What kind of relationships should you build?

Building Customer Relationships

You’re probably already doing this, but first and foremost, you should be building relationships with customers. 

Customers will be more comfortable continuing to use your business if they feel they know you personally. They will probably also be more likely to talk to you if they have a problem, rather than telling everyone they know.

Sixty -five percent of your business comes from existing customers. How can you keep those customers? Build a relationships with them! The average business loses 20 percent of its customers because the business fails to cultivate and nurture relationships with customers.

How Can You Build Relationships with Your Customers?

Talk to them and ask for feedback.

If your business is a restaurant, walk around to the tables and ask customers is everything is okay? But go a little further and ask them how they’re doing. Don’t pry into their lives, but do show genuine interest in their experience at your business.

And make it easy for customers to complain. I know, it’s frustrating to hear negative comments about your business, but encourage that conversation.

Let customers know they can come to you with problems. You might just save your reputation by receiving fewer negative online comments and by being known as the business owner in your industry who is easy to work with.

If a customer does leave a negative review, be sure to reply and make it right for the customer. Online reviews are important, and consumers read your reviews. If you reply to negativity and attempt to make amends with your customer, you could salvage that relationship and your online reputation.

Make sure your customer service is excellent, as well. If your interactions with customers leave something to be desired, customers won’t feel comfortable talking to you or your company, and it will be that much harder to build customer relationships.

Zappos is known for its customer service. The company goes above and beyond. Once, when a customer’s shipment was delayed, Zappos sent them a unicorn. They gained a customer for life by doing this. You don’t need to send all your customers life-size stuffed animals every time something goes wrong, but resolve complaints quickly and efficiently so that customers are happy enough to return to your business.

Building Relationships with Members of the Community

Of course you want to nurture your current customer base, but what about meeting new people? Here’s why local business owners should build relationships with people who aren’t their customers.

The obvious answer is that it’s possible that they will become a customer, but there’s more than that to building a relationship with a stranger. I’m not saying you have to become friends with everyone you meet, but meeting new people and networking can do a lot for a local business.

Any time I meet someone who owns a local business, I want to visit the business and tell my friends about it. If people in your community meet you personally, they will probably want to use your business the next time they are in need of a service or product you provide.

Members of your community can be one of your most valuable resources. If you are in need of help and you’ve been networking at local events, you’re more likely to have met someone who can help you out.

How to Build Relationships in your Community

Building relationships takes patience. You will have to invest time in building those relationships. You can’t just walk to someone and say, “Hey want to have a business relationship with me?” (Well, you could, but you probably shouldn’t. You wouldn’t just walk up to someone and say “We’re friends now.” Approach business relationships the same way.)

Take the time to cultivate those relationships. You don’t have to invite everyone you meet at a networking event over for dinner, but get to know people. Talk to them. Give them your card and/or your email address.

As a busy business owner, it’s going to be hard to take the time to meet new people, but here are some places where you can meet others.

  • Chamber of Commerce & other local organizations
  • Online networking events
  • Charity events
  • LinkedIn
Final Thoughts on Relationship Building

When you’re working to build relationships with members of your community, keep these ideas in mind:

Be willing to reciprocate. Remember that there is a give and a take in all relationships. If you aren’t willing to be there for someone who has been there for you, that person will be less likely to help you out if you need it.

It’s not all about the benefits. Don’t be so focused on the end goal that you forget that it’s possible you won’t benefit from the relationship. And that’s okay. You have friends who won’t help you move into a new home, but you still think of them as friends. Similarly, sometimes your business relationships won’t turn a profit.

Be genuine. Treat others as you’d want to be treated, and welcome conversations, feedback and new ideas. You’ll make new friends and maybe even get new customers in the process!