Lately, I’ve been managing many relationships with clients, colleagues and prospects. Each day, I am talking and/or writing back and forth with a lot of people. Although I love encounters with people – it’s where I get my energy – the sheer volume of interactions is challenging.
As I’ve been doing this, I’ve been thinking a lot about customer relationships as ongoing conversations. (This is the subject of Chapter 3 in We) I keep reminding myself what my best relationships with friends are like; if a friend and I don’t talk for a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months, we are able to pick up right where we left off. There is no need to start over. The same goes with good customer relationships – they are framed by ongoing, unbroken conversations.
Here is a mindset I find helpful: As opposed to thinking, “My customer and I talked about X last week and we are going to talk about X again this week,” I try to think, “My customer and I are talking about X.” It’s as if we are always in the middle of a conversation, even when we aren’t actually talking. If I’m thinking this way, it’s easier to jump right back into the conversation when my customer and I meet again.
This isn’t always easy. But it is important. A strong relationship is an ongoing conversation.
How do you create ongoing conversations with your customers?