Possible Reasons Your Customer Relationships Are Suffering

Customer Relationships
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Every small business should seek to maintain favorable relationships with patrons. After all, without customer loyalty and repeat business, how is any small business expected to keep its doors open? So, if you and your staff have had difficulty cultivating good relationships with your customers, it’s imperative that you tackle this issue head-on. As you’ll find, correcting certain behaviors on your end may hold the key to salvaging your customer relationships and setting the stage for lasting success.  

You’re Unresponsive to Customer Grievances 

No consumer relishes having their questions and concerns placed on the backburner by the businesses they reach out to. Unsurprisingly, adopting this approach to customer grievances can prove damaging on a number of fronts. To start with, it creates the impression that customer concerns are unimportant and bothersome. Not only is this liable to make customers feel disrespected, it also sends a clear message of indifference. Furthermore, being unresponsive to patron grievances severely limits your ability to maintain positive relationships with customers and increases their likelihood of taking their business to your competitors. 

That being the case, you and your staff should make addressing customer grievances a priority. Whenever a customer reaches out with a complaint via phone, text message or email, take care to provide them with a timely response – especially if their message is received during normal business hours. Just remember – the larger the grievance, the timelier a response a customer is liable to expect. 

You’re Unwilling to Take Responsibility for Mistakes 

An unwillingness to accept responsibility for mistakes on the part of your business can cause irreparable harm to your customer relationships. Frankly, there’s little wonder as to why. After all, if a business regularly downplays, minimizes or refuses to acknowledge its own mistake, it’s only natural that customers would turn against it. So, if this describes your reaction to being presented with mistakes, a noticeable downturn in repeat business shouldn’t be at all surprising. Furthermore, you should expect to see unfavorable reviews of your business pop up around the web.    

While it’s only natural to go on the defensive when confronted with mistakes, it’s important to understand that this will do you no favors when it comes to retaining customers. With this in mind, try to approach each mistake you’re presented with from the standpoint of the customer. In addition to helping you see the matter from a different perspective, this will illustrate your commitment to good customer service and make some patrons more likely to forgive the mistakes they brought to your attention. 

By extension, you should never be stingy with apologies. You may see refusing to apologize as a point of personal pride, but this mindset can prove extremely harmful to both your personal relationships and your professional ones. You should also provide inconvenienced patrons with restitution in the form of refunds and/or special discounts on future visits. As you’ll find, even the most disgruntled customers can be surprisingly forgiving if they see that genuine efforts are being made to set things right. 

You Don’t Show Customers Due Appreciation 

While prioritizing customer appreciation may seem like a no-brainer, a surprising number of small businesses regard it as an alien concept. So, if your business’s customer appreciation efforts are currently lacking to nonexistent, you’ll need to get on top of this. At the very least, you should maintain a courteous attitude throughout every customer interaction, be it in-person, over the phone or via text or email.  Secondly, every interaction with a customer should conclude with you thanking them for their continued patronage. 

You should also consider creating and implanting customer rewards programs. Such programs can prove particularly beneficial to stores, restaurants and other businesses that are able to provide tangible rewards. Good customer resource management software can also prove helpful in determining the types of reward programs that will best resonate with your customers. Anyone wondering, “What is CRM?” would do well to learn the basics posthaste. 

The last thing any small business owner wants is strained customer relationships. Since loyal patrons are the lifeblood of a small business, their absence is guaranteed to be felt. So, if you and your staff tend to regard the quality of your customer relationships as an afterthought, you’ll need to correct this thinking posthaste. Failure to treat these relationships like the priority that they are can have a host of undesirable consequences. So, if you’re serious about improving your business’s customer relationships, be mindful of the behaviors discussed above.