Top 7 Tips To Win the Hearts of your Customers and Friends
By Debby Sibert
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Those of us doing business over the internet have to become especially adept at our listening and speaking skills since we don't have the luxury of talking with our customers face to face. It's especially important to give those on the phone extra attention - listening to their voice, because that is the only thing you have to go on, to sense their emotion. You can't observe their body language or their eyes like you can in person. They have the same limitations in listening to us. A great method to use when talking on the phone to come across as being really interested is to raise your eyebrows and smile as you talk. It will give you voice a lift. Try it on one your friends. It really works. It makes you sound very cheerful, etc. The thing is, they can't see you either, so you have to work a bit harder to let them know that you're really with them. They can't see you smile, so they have to hear the warmth of your heart through your voice. If you practice, it'll start to come naturally to you.
Below are seven more tips to endear you to your customers and friends to ensure their loyalty.
- Send Thank You Notes.
You would be surprised at how effective a simple thank you note can have in a relationship the impact it can make. It only takes a few moments and a few cents to write a short Thank You note, but what an everlasting impression your thoughtfulness can make by showing your customers, clients, and friends that they mean so much to you, that you want to take the time to acknowledge them! By nature we all like to be appreciated for what we do. When we tell someone that we appreciate the kind, efficient, or honest things they have done, we can effectively reinforce that behavior while making them feel great about who they are and how they act. (This can really be a great reinforcement of a behavior you like seeing in your kids!)
So few people take the time to write Thank You notes these days, that when one is received, it makes a huge and lasting impression that could do wonders in your relationships, be they personal or business. It doesn't have to be more than a couple of sentences. The recipient will just be so surprised that you took the time to say "Thanks" for whatever reason. When you send a Thank You Note, you are really sending a small piece of yourself. We live in such a fast society that we often fail to make such needed connections with others. Writing a Thank You Note makes a connection and brings a relationship full circle. No one grows tired of being thanked. Here are a few simple suggestions: (These were developed for business, but you can get the idea to write something on a more personal level to your friends for whatever occasion you can come up with to write a Thank You note to acknowledge them and let them know that you are thinking of them.)
- Make Thank You Calls
These should not take the place of the written "Thank You" but isn't it nice to receive a phone call unexpectedly, out of the blue from someone saying, "Thank You" for something? Any "Thank You" is appreciated but it's even more powerful to thank others unexpectedly.
- Make "How's it going" calls regularly.
Usually when people call, they need some information or want to give you information. Isn't it nice when someone unexpectedly calls just to see how you're doing? We're all busy so I don't mean to call someone up and bend their ear about what you're doing. (Remember I said earlier that it's all about them, not about you.) Don't take a lot of their time, unless they need to unload on you, in which case, aren't you glad you called because they needed you. What better way to build a relationship than to be there for someone? My point is just to surprise them with a call to let them know that you're thinking about them and to see if there is anything you can do for them. This works extremely well on a personal level, but even in business, it shows that you care about them as an individual. If you want to develop better business, you'll want to do this regularly. We're all so busy these days that it really means a lot when you do this because the person on the other end knows that you're busy too. It usually only takes a couple of minutes and you have taken the initiative to basically say, "Hey, I was just thinking of you. Everything going okay?" It usually is, so the call is over with very quickly and you have shown genuine concern for that person. This is a great activity to try to work into your day. Try to reach out and touch at least one or two people a day this way
- Send unexpected gifts.
This applies to business and/or personal. If you find an article, book, newsletter, tape, interesting website or anything that your friends and/or customers might be interested in, send it along with a note saying, I thought you might enjoy this. I just finished reading/listening to this and there are some interesting ideas here. It's a small gesture but the fact that it's unexpected, and that you thought of them will make the effort appreciated.
- Send samples.
This would apply mostly to businesses I guess, but if you can, try to send a sample of one of your products as a gift. Again, this is something so unexpected that it would be perceived as a pleasant, thoughtful surprise of great value. If you don't have a sample, you could just include something you think they would enjoy with a note saying, "thought you might enjoy this." That is something you could do for anyone and it would be considered a very thoughtful gesture because it is. It takes a little effort, but the rewards are great and lasting.
- Send Birthday Cards
Who doesn't like to be remembered on their birthday? How about doing something really easy and send a birthday card to your friends and customers. Of course you'd have to find out when your customer's birthday is but if you've had a lengthy relationship with them, you should try to find that out. You could even go the extra mile and send a little gift with it. It wouldn't have to be much, maybe a "special offer" coupon or maybe free tickets to an event. Just a thought. Say something like, "I wanted to be one of the first to wish you a happy birthday and to offer you this special gift (or discount) for this special occasion.
- Send Holiday Cards
Are your customers and friends worth a couple of bucks to you? That is about all it would cost (along with couple minutes of your time) to personalized a classy holiday card with a sentiment of appreciation, address it and toss it in the mail. You would be amazed at the impact that can make! If you really want to stand out from the crowd of all the other cards that might be coming in to that person, or business, send a Thanksgiving card and send it even a little early. That way you will be way ahead of the pack and they will have more time to soak in your message. Thanksgiving is a time of expressing thanks for friendships, associations, etc. Also, you don't have to worry about any cultural differences. Anyone would appreciate a Thanksgiving card. It would definitely be a memorable experience.
Debby Sibert is the president of http://www.DesignCrafters.com, a thriving internet business specializing in Personalized Christmas cards and invitations. They attribute most of their success to their dynamic customer service.
Article Submitted On: September 04, 2005