The key to success in business is having happy customers.  The secret is in finding ways to make them happy and then keep them happy so they return time and time again to buy from your business.

There are 3 easy steps you can take to improve your customer relationships.  These apply particularly to service-based businesses, but can equally be used in a business that sells products.

 

Show interest in the customer by asking questions

When you think of walking into a retail shop, you expect to be asked a question along the lines of “how can I help you?”.  The problem with this question is more often than not your customer will reply with “just looking” even if they are looking for something specific.  We’ve been trained to ignore those general questions.

The key to asking questions is to show an interest in the customer from the very beginning of the conversation.  Find a way to make them feel welcome in your business.   Once you have established some rapport, you will be able to ask more specific questions about what they are looking for.

In a serviced based business, it is easy to ask more specific questions about what they are seeking to achieve.  Ask questions to help to identify their problem or challenge that they are looking to resolve.

People want to feel special.  They want to feel important to you and your business.  They will feel that way when they are being helped by someone in your business who takes the time to have a conversation with them to find out what they are truly looking for or needing.

 

Take the time to really listen to the customers’ answers

When you really listen to what your customer is saying you will find out a wealth of information about them and about their issues.  A good service provider will also find out about matters that have no bearing on the sale, but that in listening to the customer will make them feel heard.  Sometimes, as customers, that’s all we want.   We want to be heard.

Listening goes hand in hand with asking good questions.  The more you listen, the more detailed and specific your questions can become, until you have all the relevant information you need to assist your customer.

 

When you have all the information, providing the right solution is simple

There are two benefits of asking questions and listening to answers.  The first is knowing exactly what the customer wants which means providing them with the product they are seeking or the best solution.

The second benefit is how the customer feels about the experience of buying from your business.  Asking questions and listening is the first step in building a relationship with your customer.  The more they feel that you care about them and want to help them, the more likely they are to come back and buy again and again.

Take time to listen to what you are saying to your customers.  Are you asking questions and listening to their answers and really helping them, or are you too rushed with getting a sale and moving onto the next customer?

Take time to listen to how your staff are dealing with your customers too.  Tell your staff how you want to make the customers feel and how you want them to take an interest in each and every customer who walks into the business.

 

Arrange a time with your staff to brainstorm the types of questions they could be asking and follow up on a weekly basis to see how they are feeling about working differently.  At the same time let them know how sales have changed on a weekly basis.  Then keep changing the questions and the way you and your staff communicate with your customers and over time you will reap the benefits of happy customers, more involved staff and increased sales.