Unless you a have an unbeatable competitive advantage or a niche, you are in the market of competing with others over customers- and that is not only true to external customers, but also impacts internal customers.

How can you build sustainable relationships with customers that will stand the test of time? How can you cement those relationships and provide continuous value?

Based on a research that our team at ighcc have conducted across 5 industries in 4 different countries, we have found 5 factors that will put you ahead and increase your chances of being at the center of your customers attention.

A key element in building strong relationships. When people feel that they are
being understood and heard, they are more likely to trust the business and
return for future transactions. Empathy plays a positive impact in problem
solving and mediating tense situations with customers. The good news is that
empathy can be learnt through workshops and application on listening, communication and questioning skills.

Another critical component of customer care is managing expectations. Each customer have specific goals and objectives from buying your products & services;
This should clearly be reflected in your brand identity. Clarifying and managing expectations will pave a way towards a sustainable relationship and connection vs a transactional opportunistic relationship.

Once the expectations are set and the standards are established, you have to keep on consistently delivering what you have promised. Integrity is a crucial factor
for business continuity. Our research have shown that transparency and honesty
are some of the strongest factors to earning your customer trust . According to
an article published in Ethics monitor: Failure to conduct a business honestly
and ethically can erode shareholder confidence, damage the organization’s
reputation, reduce its brand equity, diminish customer support, incur financial
costs and, in extreme cases, lead to the closure of the business.

A frequently asked question is: “What happens if get into a conflict with one of
my customers?” Those sensitive situations are a great opportunity to turn the
experience around and increase further the level of loyalty. In order to create
an effective resolution, employees should be empowered to make customer
related decisions quickly. An example of that is that every Ritz Carlton
employee has a financial budget per customer to use in order to solve any
pressing customer complaint.

Lastly, a very important point to consider is the customer journey. People do
not need excessive stress and if your company, product or service are creating
tension, your customers will take the first opportunity to leave you. The focus
should be on the experience, how can you make it more pleasant, more fun? How
can we make our customers enjoy working with us.


At the end of the day, most customers have choices, and even if you have an amazing competitive advantage, how long will it last? If the market dynamics change, you will find yourself competing for the customers attention again. Apply
empathy, manage expectations, deal with integrity, be fast and attentive on the
resolution and think about the customer’s journey.

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