One of the underlying features of great relationships is respect. True respect is when it is both given and received, mutual respect.
In commercial relationships we often measure the level of respect our customers provide to us through metrics such as repeat purchases, or survey-based systems such as Net Promoter Score. But how often do we examine the level of respect we show to our customers?
It’s easy to show examples of our disrespect for our customers. In Customer Understanding it’s evident in behaviours such as surveys which contain rating and ranking exercises that fill multiple pages, ask questions about our spending habits at 14 different stores, in 10 categories, over the past 12 months. Who keeps that in their heads? then we reward them with 25 points in the airline “loyalty” program of our choice. Or we herd them into focus group facilities, at a time convenient to us, where Category Managers deride them from behind a mirror while simultaneously checking their email.
Fortunately not everyone works this way, but these are behaviours which are still too common.
So, how do we do it better? R-E-S-P=E-C-T
R – Remember that your customers pay your salary. This is very important!
E – Engage your customers in interesting ways. Make it convenient for them to talk to you using the appropriate tools and techniques.
S – Spend more time with your customers. Go where they go, see what they see, hear what they hear.
P – Protect their personal information at all costs. Ask for explicit permission and keep asking.
E – Educate everyone in your organization to balance their selling with their listening so you are hearing more about your customers’ needs on an everyday basis.
C- Communicate in both directions. Don’t be afraid of what you might hear.
T – Thank them often for the respect they show you by continuing to do business with you. Find little ways to reward your most respectful customers, especially the ones who take the time to tell you how you could do better.
Steve and Megann