It’s so easy to look at the day’s to do list and then focus on crossing items off. We have to get x amount of references for the analyst and the case study interview is in 30 minutes and the customer press release needs final approval from the executive staff. We become strangled by the things we have to do and we forget one of the basic principles of running a customer reference or loyalty program…relationships!
When was the last time you sat down with the Sales team to find out what’s going on with them? When was the last time you called up a customer to see how they are doing? If you build relationships, everything will become a little bit easier because your support group of you, gets bigger. If you treat people as people and try to get to know them, your relationship will grow. I’m not suggesting becoming friends with all your customers, partners or sales teams, rather, become interested in them for who they are rather than what they represent to you or your company.
When on calls with customers, partners or sales people, I make notes of their birthdays, anniversary, vacations, anything that is personal to them that’s not necessarily work related. I can then email later and see how their son’s baseball game went, how their trip to Italy was or how their wife’s birthday was. Something a little personal without asking for something. If you don’t feel comfortable emailing them, drop a mention in a conversation.
This week forget the mechanics and details of the reference program. Focus on building relationships with your customers…sales, analysts, partners and customers.
I challenge you tomorrow, before you start crossing off items on your to do list, email or call a customer and say hi, thank you, happy Monday, how was your weekend. Anything but asking them for something. Treat them as a person rather than an action item, it’ll get you much further.