In the world of business, there are different approaches. There is the distant approach with uptight secretaries, sleazy salespeople, and anti-social technical managers. And then there is the more friendly approach. Do you want to do business with strangers, friends or enemies? Think about that!
1. Friendly Reps, Salespeople & Technical Assistance
The friendly approach is to have informative and engaging reps on the phone. You should have technical managers who are a little less uptight and trained to be folksy. I would not expect the same level of sociability from a technical person as from a customer centric person like a CSR, but you can still get them to the 25% level with a little coaching. You can have salespeople who not only deliver reliable information (instead of lying) but who are very nice and interactive.
2. Wine & Dine
It is common for higher level business people to wine and dine each other. But, what is the purpose of this? Isn’t that just a waste of money that is purely for a tax write-off? The write-off doesn’t hurt. But, business relations are smoother and last longer when you go out to eat with each other regularly. The closer the relationship, the better quality work you get out of them and the longer it lasts. In short: wining builds trust; dining builds longevity!
3. Talk more on the phone
It is good to keep in touch with clients. You could even call without a purpose from time to time. It is important not to be intrusive or a bother to them. Most companies only bug you when they want to sell to you. But, good companies keep in touch with their customers in the long run. The Japanese call this “Afta-sawvice” which is their pronunciation for “after-service.”
4. Keep in touch more by email
You can email information about what is going on with their account. You can email graphs, charts, information about what happened with particular customers, or anything else pertinent. The fact that you are communicting useful information on your own initiative matters a lot.
5. Company parties
At Filipino call centers, they are famous for having parties. It raises morale. But, what if you invite your American clients to join via web-cam, or even in person?
I have a newsletter with 5000 subscribers. I keep in touch with lots of people and keep the troops together. My newsletter tells people what is going on with us, and in our industry. We have tons of very interesting articles.
7. Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs are the next best thing after great customer service. They can really keep your customers around longer and have them retain a closer relationships with your company doing a larger quantity of business.
8. Referral Programs
You can reward customers for introducing you to others — but, only if they are completely satisfied with your work otherwise it will backfire.
9. Online Portals
This is an impersonal way of interacting, but if a client can access information about what is going on with his/her account online, many will value this.
10. Office Visits with lots of small talk
If clients come to your office, this is a great way to get to know each other. You can invite people to come when you have a slower day. You can have samosas and chai if in India, or more American snacks if in America. Nothing beats a good snack session at the office to get to know people. You will get to know people walking down the hallway, and get a great sense about the company. Even if it requires an overseas flight, you should really get to know who you are doing business with for a long-term relationship!