We can sometimes lead you into tangents that talk about the warm and the fuzzy
aspects of business and communication. We believe that relationships, after they’re
established, are to be nurtured if they are ever to grow.
Corporate relationships are not unlike interpersonal relationships – after all, we
still deal with human beings at each end of the communication spectrum. And you’d
think that virtual communication and relationship building would assume a top-
down model by default.
Not particularly. When we’re not all being harassed by spam-bots, the driving force
behind virtual communication is still people. And it takes a lot of TLC to build trust
with your audience to bring them to a point where they will gladly approach you or
refer to you without thinking about it twice.
1. Listen Yes, you’re in the market to provide solutions, and there’s a time and
place to offer those. But strong relationships are built on the foundations of
strong listening skills. If you don’t have them, then cultivate. Every once in a
while, stop sending active verbal and visual messages and just listen to what
your customers really need. They need the space to express themselves.
2. Be Your Values You may have strong company values written down on
paper, but they mean very little if they don’t translate into reality with
interpersonal interaction. If you value the quality of service you provide, then
the last thing an upset client needs from you is to be rejected or dismissed.
3. Instead of pointing clients to your FAQ page or handout, Respond to
queries, emails, Tweets, “Likes” and comments on Facebook posts, forums
and blog posts with custom replies. There is little worse than knowing you
are not welcome at the place you are seeking a service.
4. Keep Building You don’t stop caring once you know you have a good thing
going, do you? Corporate relationships are the same way, and good will
matters. Go the extra mile. Hand-write your cards. Do something for your
client that extends beyond the typical special-event discount, and do it just to
say thank you.
Your relationships with your customers will always be a reward-based two-way
street, and they will sense your transparency if you choose to display it. While the
process may take a little effort and be a little involved, the relationships you build on
the basis of mutual trust will be rewarding far beyond profit-margins.