Building and growing customer relationships seems like it would come automatically: you offer a great product or service and your customers are happy. But successful business owners know that there’s more to creating great customer relationships.

We reached out to our team of Relationship Managers who work with customers every day, and asked them, “What’s the secret to a great customer relationship?”

Here’s what they had to say:

1. Have values. Know what your business stands for and what that means for your customers.

2. Be direct. Value your customers’ time and get to the point. And while you’re at it…

3. Be upfront. Don’t try to sidestep the hard conversations. Addressing things head-on, even when they’re difficult, builds trust.

4. Believe in what you’re offering. If you don’t believe in what you’re offering, why should your customers?

5. Be confident. You’re the expert (that’s why you started your business). Make sure your customers see your expertise. Be confident in your knowledge and the value your business offers.

6. But not too confident. There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. If you don’t know the answer to a customer’s question, admit it, commit to finding it, and deliver it.

7. Don’t push responsibility on to someone else. Finger pointing doesn’t build trust with your customers.

8. Be accountable. If there’s a problem, take responsibility for fixing it.

9. Bring the energy. Customers don’t want to deal with a robot running on low batteries. People like to do business with people who are committed to the mission at hand with enthusiasm and energy.

10. But not frantic energy. You want your energy to be focused, not bouncing off the walls. Running around franticly sends the message that you do not have things under control which makes your customers start to question your ability. There’s a difference between urgency and panic.

11. Set expectations. Never assume that your customer already has all the information that they need. Explain what to expect while keeping it conversational. No one likes to be lectured.

12. Storyline their experience. Everyone likes a good story, including customers. Use a story to illustrate the things that make your business unique.

13. Be prompt. When you respond to someone in a timely manner, you start to establish trust. Your customers will see that you’re reliable and available to them.

14. Value your customers’ time. Always be working to make their experience with your business timely and efficient.

15. Respect their business and their experience. Your customers come to you to help them solve a problem. That doesn’t mean that they are clueless. Treat them with the respect that they deserve.

16. Ask questions. The only way to understand what your customers need is to ask them – over and over again. Because chances are, their needs will evolve over time.

17. And then listen. Don’t bother asking, if you’re not going to listen and engage with their response.

18. Explain how you can help. Make sure you’re clear about how your business can help relieve the stress your customers feel. Use your experience to offer guidance and relevant insight.

19. And that you want to help them. Customers want to feel that you’re invested in them.

20. Be authentic. Customers can sense a fake a mile away.

21. Be patient. Relationships don’t happen over night. With every interaction, you’re building a foundation of trust. The more you can deliver what your customer needs on a consistent basis, the stronger your relationship will be.

Your business is your customers. How they interact with you and what they say about their experience working with you are the building blocks of a customer relationship. If you want to have a great relationship, these insights are a good place to start.

Our mission at Swift Capital is to unleash the potential of every small business by providing them with fair and convenient access to working capital. We harness data and technology alongside personalized human expertise to see the true potential in every business. Did you like this post? Tell us what you’d like to see on our blog. Email us at newsletter@swiftcapital.com or tell us here.

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