15 Questions that Build Stronger Customer Relationships

If you’re looking to build impenetrable relationships with your customers, giving them more or less of what you think they want isn’t the answer. In fact, it could be the very thing that destroys your relationships. If you want to learn how to strengthen your customer relationships, ask your customers.

Then it happened. Like an empty pipeline hitting you on the side of the head. “We’re going in another direction this year, so we won’t be renewing our contract with you.”

You think to yourself, “But I thought we had such a great relationship.” Clearly, a disconnect between what you perceived was great relationship and what your customer did.

For example, are you the salesperson who only shows up during renewal time or when it’s time for your customer to put in another order? Chances are by that time, they’re already speaking to one of your competitors. Having a good product is different from having a good relationship.

What if salespeople spent as much time on their retention strategy as they do on their selling strategy?

82% of companies have a greater focus on customer acquisition, where only 18% focus primarily on retention.

When it comes to retaining customers and building valued relationships, while you may know what an ideal relationship looks like to you, you have not idea what it looks like to them.

Ask yourself, “Am I assuming what they want and need based on what I would want, or am I assessing what they want by asking the right questions to gather the facts vs. fiction?”

Danger: Avoid Selling in Your Own Image.

It always stings when a long time customer migrates over to one of your competitors. And quite often, you don’t see this coming an are shocked when it does. So is your sales quota and revenue projections.

The only way to build stronger customer relationships is to ask your customer what a good relationship looks like to them.

Relationships and Customer Loyalty

So, what’s your retention strategy to continually deliver value to your customers and maintain a healthy relationship, even when they’re not buying from you?

When asked in a survey about what “customer service” means, 74% of respondents said it’s about being listened to, appreciated and understood and taken care of.

64% of respondents also mentioned that they are willing to spend more on a brand that remembers them and offers a personalized experience.

Here’s your strategy to avoid time-consuming customer service issues and selling stress, while creating long-term, healthy relationships, which boost sales, customer retention, satisfaction and loyalty.

Set Intentions to Ensure Alignment

“Hi Mr./ Mrs. Client. Thanks for taking the time to discuss the type of relationship you’d like to create and how we can meet your expectations. I want to ensure we’re delivering the level of service and the value you expect. I respect that every customer has different priorities and expectations. That’s why I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss what I can do to develop the type of relationship you find valuable. Are you open to discussing how we can achieve this?”

Seek to Understand What They Want, Not You

1. How would you define a successful vendor partnership and engagement?

2. How would you describe our current relationship?

3. Why did you hire us?

4. What are we currently doing well?

5. What can I do more of/differently to ensure I’m supporting you the way you want to be supported?

6. What areas can we improve upon?

7. What’s your expectation/definition of 5-Star Customer Service?

8. What stands out most regarding the quality of our service and deliverables?

9. What can I do to maintain our positive relationship?

10. What would end our relationship?

11. If a problem arises, how would you want to work together and resolve it so it doesn’t happen again?

12. Can you share a positive experience with another vendor so that we can deliver on your expectations?

13. What’s your expectation around our response time to your requests?

14. How often do you want to be updated around…? What specific data points? Format?

15. How much involvement and visibility do you want regarding the work flow and stages we’re at with your project/engagement?

To assess the quality of the relationships and trust you have with your customers, are you the first to know about imminent changes in their business or the last to find out?

Consider this. It costs five to seven times more to acquire a new customer, than to retain an existing one.

You know the types of relationships you want to have in your life and with your customers. Don’t assume other people want the same, as that alone can become a leading cause of strained relationships, lost sales and missed quota.

The best way to build trust, demonstrate care and the importance of the relationships you have with your customers is to simply ask what they value and what expectations they have of you, and just honor them.