Being a psychology enthusiast and having more failed relationships than I’d like to admit (at least to anyone who’s not in that field that I’m paying to keep quiet), I’ve been reading a lot of books and blogs lately on how to build better relationships. What I’ve found probably wouldn’t come as a shock to many, but I think somewhere along the way, many of us seem to have forgotten some of these simple principles. And not just in our personal lives.
One of my biggest “ah ha” moments came while completing a project at work. It suddenly hit me that much of the same advice that applies to personal relationships can benefit businesses too. Now I’m not saying CEOs should run out and grab the latest issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, but if you stop to ask yourself whether you’d want to date your company or one of the companies you currently give your business to, is the answer a yes?
If your answer isn’t a resounding yes, here are a few tips:
1. Talk less and listen more. Think about it, would you want to date someone who constantly shouted messages at you, especially ones that weren’t even relevant? Get to know your customers and offer them what they actually want or need. Listen to their feedback and respond in an appropriate and timely manner—a practice that’s more important than ever with the influence of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ and Pinterest, which drew 16.6% of Internet minutes spent in December 2011 according to comScore.
2. Be clear in your communications. Would you date someone who promised you something and didn’t deliver? Imagine being asked out to a fancy dinner on your first date and only going to fast food restaurants after that. When you make an offer, make sure your message is clear up front so your customers understand what they’re signing up for.
3. Be respectful. Nobody wants to date someone who answers the phone one day and not the next or worse, who only calls when they need something. Remind yourself that your customers’ time and money is just as valuable to them as it is to you.
4. Keep things fresh, but be consistent. Keeping the work you’re producing fresh will turn their heads, but consistently providing value and delivering superior customer service will keep them coming back.
Dating advice isn’t just for singles anymore. Applying these lessons can help you build solid relationships with your customers and keep them from secretly placing a personal ad asking your competition if they like piña coladas.
*Image courtesy of blog.tinyprints.com