April 2016 Business SCAN
Today, trust is the basis for every business exchange and all customer behaviour. Creating customer loyalty puts customer value, rather than maximising profits and shareholder value, at the center of business strategy.
Use social competencies to establish trust and customer value. These include:
- Relate to your customers on a personal level. Keep detailed notes about them. A customer service team that is interacting with overlapping customers needs to be able to communicate quickly and look at each other’s notes.
- Create a partnership with your customers. Involve them in the design and delivery of service, ask for feedback on ways to improve their experience, create forums for customer participation, and spend time with customers.
- Be natural in your engagement. Use social awareness and investigate your customers’ moods, associated behaviour, and motives in order to improve the quality of your relationships. Simply ask yourselves, how would you want to be treated if you were a customer?
- Base new product development on your customers’ behaviour. Customers are not always aware of what they want. Instead of asking them, look at their behaviour to understand their needs. This is where ‘Blue ocean strategies’ meet ‘Customer-centricity’.
- Be transparent and honest. Don’t stretch the truth. Customers have their radar on for “sins of omission and commission.” Address issues directly, explain how the company will handle them and share what steps are being taken.
- Make it an organisational mentality. Lead by example. From a leadership perspective, consistent performance shows employees what you expect from them. Model the behaviour you want to see by doing the right thing in the right way. Talk frequently about the company’s values in a way that appeals not only to employees’ intellect but also to their emotions.
Sources: Santa Clare University (2015), The Role of the CEO in Building an Ethical Organization [online], Oct 2; M. Nicoles (2006) Five Ways to Build customer Trust, Bloomberg [online], August 3; M. Adams (2014), Three Ways To Build Customer Trust, Forbes [online], April 22.
Use the check points above to look at where you are in the overall quality of customer relationship. Turn to the back to find an applicable and systematic understanding of the three components of trust.
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