One of the most important parts of the job for those who love working on the frontline of Sales, Customer Service or Call & Contact Centres is building meaningful and lasting relationships. 


It’s not speed dating and there are no wine or roses…but it does involve changing customer perceptions of you from being a stranger who sells products or services, provides information or handles inquiries to a person who is fully engaged in the moment and the overall experience for customers. 


After all, it’s this level of attention that keeps them coming back time and time again. 


Businesses who invest in long-term customer relationships reduce the chances of losing out to competitors who are always ready to pounce and to poach. 


So, let x1jobs be your guide to making those all-important bonds longer lasting. 


The first step is to allow customers to interact with your company in a way that makes them feel instantly at ease. 


In today’s digitalised and fully connected world, there are many methods of communication available and, as no two customers are ever the same, there should be as many options to choose from as possible. 


Finding out how a customer likes to make contact or be contacted is integral to creating an optimal link: when a face-to-face isn’t possible some prefer the direct approach with a phone call, others are keyboard warriors on email while a growing number value the instant feedback of webchats and social media. 


Once you’ve established a favourite medium, it’s time to make the customer feel special. No-one wants to feel as though they’re just another number or ‘taking a ticket’, so take the time to fully interact with your clients: ask them questions, use their name, indulge them in their small talk. Allow pauses in the conversation because these motivate them to share more and can often be the best way to discover their real needs. 


Above all, never forget to listen. This way when you engage with customers in the future you will have already broken the ice, taken on board key details about them and started to develop a rapport. 


Speed, too, is of the essence. In a personal friendship you can be forgiven for forgetting to return Mandy’s Monday morning call, or answer a Friday night text from Fred, but clients demand quicker responses. 


You’ve made a sale or solved a problem? Congratulations! That’s all that matters, right? Wrong! The grinning glory of success can very quickly be wiped away by poor aftercare. 


Your client may have additional queries or follow-up questions and it’s your call of duty to be on hand to answer them in a timely fashion. Good customer service not only strengthens existing relationships in this way but also increases the reach and value of customer loyalty, with a strong likelihood your company will be recommended to others… and the others of others! 


To become this popular you must always be genuinely interested. Even first-time customers’ nostrils will widen as they smell a rehearsed, formulaic script from a mile off. Staying within the boundaries of your organisation’s guidelines, keep your interactions as informal as possible. Big sales and case closures tend to come only after a subconscious bond has been established, so get in the groove and create that connection. 


But never force things. Not every relationship develops in the same way or at the same pace. While some customers appreciate chewing the fat, others prefer to get straight to their point. It pays to know the difference, and this means learning to listen more than you talk and exercising patience. 


The strongest and most durable relationships take time to come together and require the establishment of mutual respect and trust. Slow, steady perseverance is key here: become intuitive to your customer’s requirements and allow the relationship to develop naturally. 


This is also why being sincere is also paramount.  There’s nothing more obvious than when you’re faking it and that’s a big turn-off for anyone. Instead take a vested interest: every conversation should result in the customer feeling like you’ve expressed a genuine regard for them. So, think more about their business rather than yours – after all, in a customer-facing role, you’re there to help the client, not the other way around. 


When you’re flexible, available and willing to meet their needs to their preferred schedule, you make the entire experience less stressful and more enjoyable. Going above and beyond expectations will both surprise and delight. 


On the other hand, clients who feel they’re doing all the work or being hurried will quickly lose any interest in maintaining a relationship. 


Finally, keep track of how many customers return to you and always ask them why…then make sure this feedback becomes a central focus in your organisation’s forward marketing and sales planning. 


Building lasting relationships is not only good for the customer and the organisation but for your own career. Standout employees who maintain a solid client base can quickly climb the ladder into senior management roles. 


So, if you’re looking to build a long-lasting relationship with an exciting new career in the world of Sales, Customer Service or Call & Contact Centres, check out the latest vacancies on x71jobs now.