Make Customer Relations Part of Your Business Model

Make Customer Relations Part of Your Business Model

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A business model is a roadmap for your business’s success. Planning out your business strategy helps with decision making and measuring success. Most business plans include:
• A company description
• Goals and objectives
• Marketing analysis and target market
• Organizational description
• Financial plans
• Marketing strategies
Your business model sets the tone for your business and customer relations deserves to be included. The value of customer service may not seem obvious in the planning stages of a business, but it becomes very evident with the first sale. Unless your business is completely passive and automated, engaging customers is an everyday occurrence.

Understanding the Value of Customer Relations

Your business may offer an important solution for the world, but if customers don’t imagine the benefits for themselves it won’t matter. Customers want to know, like, and trust a product and a company before they make a commitment. For example, a customer may choose a burger joint because it’s accessible, they like burgers, and they are hungry, but if their experience is poor, they may bail on their buying decision or fail to repeat their business. Selling a burger is more than providing meat and a bun, it’s the entire experience that matters, including how they feel when they leave with a full belly.

Pre-plan Your Customer’s Experience

Building your customer relations expectations into your business model can help set the tone for your customer’s experience from the beginning in a consistent way. Determining what your standards are, what protocols ensure those standards, and what steps to take to deliver them, are as important as what you are selling.
Planning ahead can help create the proper environment for sales, follow up after the sale, customer support, and addressing customer dissatisfaction. Also, planning ahead can help you define what good customer relations looks like for your business which helps set healthy boundaries when troublesome customers impact your business.

Consider these steps to determine what your customer relations priorities are:

  1. Define the ideal experience you want customers to have when engaging your business. How do you want customers to feel during their experience? How do you want them to remedy any problems or issues after the sale?
  2. Determine what activities, phrases, or behaviors work towards those goals. For example, you may decide to personally greet each customer as they enter your business to ensure they feel seen and welcomed.
  3. Design your marketing and sales around your intentions. What can be done to integrate your customer relations plan into sales and marketing?
  4. Prepare for the unexpected. How will you address unreasonable or downright negative and hostile situations? Determine your boundaries and create firm but respectful ways to agree to disagree. An example could be refusing to use sarcasm when an unreasonable customer is unwilling or unable to communicate appropriately. Planning ahead can help you stay calm and avoid a blow up.
  5. Review and revise. Use the experiences you have as teaching tools and a measurement tool to determine whether you are moving towards or away from your customer relations goals.

It may not appear necessary to pre-plan customer relations in your business, but it may be one of the most important aspects of your service delivery. Knowing how you want to engage customers before, during, and after the sale can help you create a consistent and positive customer relations experience.