Every leader must find a way to stand out and help your team do the same. The marketplace is crowded and today, every business will tell you they are “different” but to really be set apart, your team must have an intentional relationship with three specific types of customers. There’s a method to this approach and if pursued, your business will be chosen above every competitor.
These are the customers who pay you for the goods or services you provide. Without them, you have no business. Intentional interactions will tell you if your team is meeting their needs. Why do they pick you over the competition? And even what frustrates them about doing business with you. To engage direct customers, develop a short feedback tool that tells you what they liked about your product/service, what they disliked and what could be improved. Focus groups are a great way to connect face to face with direct customers. You have two purposes: thank them for choosing you over everyone else and ask them how you can improve your service to them.
Stakeholders provide support services that help your business succeed. As they help your business, you in turn you help them do the same. Take the initiative with this customer to share measures of success and barriers. They have a unique perspective to your business and can help you see opportunities for improvement in a different way. Engage these customers through some type of quarterly check-up. Ensure you are giving them what they need and how your are helping them help you. In turn, they can provide insight to your business no one else can which helps your team improve in the areas that drive your best quality and results.
These customers provide your team goods and services so you can take care of your direct customer. Whether it is banking, your office supplies or other supplies, it is crucial to be a good customer to them. Your reputation grows and diminishes in this relationship. Pay them on time. Be respectful and thank them for their service to you. As you develop rapport with them, look for ways to better understand their business. You may likely learn something about a different industry that can help your team in some way and over time, you are a customer this team wants to help. The benefits are untapped, simply by paying attention to this special type of customer.
Intentionality is the key with each of these customer groups. When you engage these relationships the reciprocity effect occurs. Don’t forget the Golden Rule: If you ask for feedback, you must do something with it. Your team must have the discipline to take ideas; follow up and complete the loop with the feedback you receive. The power of these relationships will make you stand out from others. So let’s begin: cultivate intentional relationships!