Try this over the next few days…
Each time you interact with a customer, whether it is on the phone, in-person or through an email exchange, ask yourself this question: Is our relationship better at the end of this interaction than it was at the beginning?
What do you think you will find? Are you improving your relationships with customers most of the times you interact with them? Or, are many of your interactions transactional, not enriching your relationship?
We all know what this feels like; we interact with a customer and, after meeting, we can tell that our relationship has improved. We also know what the opposite feels like, when your relationship actually takes a step backwards during an interaction.
Relationships with customers don’t pop into existence spontaneously. They are built one interaction at a time. If you want to build a relationship with a customer, it is important to move your relationship forward – sometimes by inches, sometimes by miles – each time you interact.
Here’s how I classify these kinds of interactions with customers: An interaction with a customer in which your relationship improves is called an “encounter.” An interaction with a customer in which your relationship doesn’t improve, or actually degrades, is called a “transaction.”
To build a relationship with a customer, you need to string together a series of encounters over time. These encounters are the building blocks of your relationship.
Stay tuned on this blog for more information about creating encounters. Additionally, you can have a look at my free ebook, Encounters: The Building Blocks of We Relationships, which you will receive for subscribing to this blog, or see chapter 2 in We: The Ideal Customer Relationship. (If you don’t want to subscribe to the blog or buy the book, send me an note and I will email you a copy of Chapter 2. I’m happy to do it as long as you it helps you create encounters with your customers.)