Customer and Supplier Relationships
You’ll be playing different roles in dealing with customers, suppliers, and business people like your bank manager or accountant. But don’t let this scare you. You probably play all these roles already in your life without even realising it! Meeting people, building relationships, listening, learning – it’s all about the basics of getting on with people. Nurturing excellent customer relationships is a fantastic way of retaining existing business and winning more through word of mouth. Read the guides on Customer Care (Business Wales website) within the Business Wales Marketing Zone.
Why is building strong business relationships so vital?
- People go the extra mile for those they trust and respect – and they’ll be far more likely to buy goods and services.
- Suppliers, customers, colleagues and advisers will be happier to support you (giving information, guidance etc) – essential if you’re going to make the right decisions. They’ll also keep you abreast of any trends and point out potential problems or opportunities.
- Customer dissatisfaction will be far less likely – you’ll be able to nip problems in the bud because you know them and they respect you.
- If you build strong relationships with others you’ll be less in danger of any hidden agendas or personal resentments which might undermine your success.
- Life is more fun when you’re getting on with people!
- When it comes down to it, business is about buying and selling products and services. And you can’t do either unless you talk to other people!
Relationships with other people are very often instinctive, but there are practical steps you can take to build up credit in the relationship bank. After all, you never know when you might need it! Find out more about networking effectively (Business Wales website) through reading guides on the Business Wales Marketing Zone.
Build more relationships – become more interested in other rather than trying to get other people interested in you.
Get to know them as individuals in an open, friendly way. Their loyalty will be crucial to your success. A satisfied customer will tell half a dozen people about the excellent service you give – a dissatisfied customer will tell 20 not to use you. Talk to your customers regularly, find out what they’re looking for and try to anticipate their future needs. Show that you’re interested in them not just as customers but also as real people. Don’t be over-chummy, but do develop an easy-going relationship. Make sure you provide a truly personal service – and make sure you deliver. Read more information on how to manage your customer relationships on the Business Wales Marketing Zone.
With supplier and other partners, you’ll be looking to build mutually rewarding long-term relationships that meet both your needs. This may seem like an area you’d rather avoid – but don’t take it personally. Try to be objective instead – this is business, after all. If you think of it in positive terms, like the desire to understand the respective needs and interests of two parties, and find solutions to satisfy them both, it can seem more manageable.