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How to improve your customer relationships

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Jesse Huylebroeck
Sales Representative

Customers can be demanding. That's not hard, it's just a learning opportunity! Here are four good tips to improve your customer relations.

It's important to see these tips in a cause-and-effect relationship. Anyone who is demanding often has a good reason for doing so. Sometimes it's a lack of understanding of the problem or the situation, it can also be a lack of trust. Whatever the cause, I'm convinced that you're bound to make a lot of quick-wins with these tips.

Listening well is an art

Active listening requires a lot from you as a human being. First of all, you have to be able to focus, you need sufficient energy and you have to persevere. I say persevere on purpose, because often people say things we disagree with. You have to prevent that step, because at that moment you already have a judgment and you are no longer listening. Try to double-check your questions with your client to see if what you've heard is true. This is the only way to get a correct understanding of what the customer really wants or where he or she wants to go.

"What do you think? -> It's these three magical words at the end of your sentence that make sure you can prevent instead of having to heal afterwards. The power of good listening cannot possibly be overestimated. It is something that can prevent a lot of misery. Both within your team and towards the client.

The good news is that you can also learn to listen, but you have to train it. There are a lot of websites, but you can also plan small tricks. Ask the person in charge at the end of each meeting to ask everyone a question. Or try it with a case that you explain to a colleague about whom you ask a question afterwards.

Get to know your customers

A lack of trust can be at the root of a difficult situation. A good tip, therefore, is to invest in your relationship from the very beginning. Try to find out what's going on in their lives so you can anticipate. This way you make sure that the week before and after they leave on a ski holiday no heavy mails get to them, but that you can just send them that friendly 'how do I put chains on my winter tyres again' tip together with what you like to pick up with them a week after their return. Remember the smallest things you know about them. Having small things in common will help you build trust and create a great working relationship.

Keep your promises

There's no better method, nothing that works better to build trust than... Keeping your promises. Nothing so simple and nothing so difficult. All you need is your own structure. Don't forget that working together is teamwork. Doing your job doesn't just mean doing your job, it also means that your contact person can get on with his side of the task. Make sure you give enough information. Trust is something you have to work on. It comes on foot and goes on horseback.

Become a problem solver

Collaboration always leads to conflict. This is inevitable. That is why shared decisions are the best ones. But of course you have to be open to them. One of the best techniques is to make your client part of the final decision. By giving him or her a role in what the final situation will look like, you create a shared responsibility. Moreover, the execution or implementation will undoubtedly go faster if you both fully support a decision. Empathy, learning to make a compromise... I promise you they are soft skills that will take you far.

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