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Six simple ways for your business to build customer relations

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As a marketing professional, I notice every day how my world works to influence my buying decisions. When something makes me step back and say, “Wow,” I can’t help but dissect what resonated with the marketing message.

I recently had one of these moments in, of all places, an orthodontist’s office. My experience provided everyday lessons that any business can apply.

As fate would have it, two of my children needed braces at the same time. We selected an orthodontist based on a referral from our dentist, along with endorsements from others.

But as the process progressed, I become increasingly agitated with the experience. While I was satisfied with the core service (straightening the teeth), I was dissatisfied with the overall experience.

So based on a few recommendations, I switched orthodontists. That’s when I had the “wow” experience.

An introductory packet was mailed to our house so that we were prepared for our first appointment. Along with the standard paperwork was a small gift … a bracelet (I couldn’t believe I was getting gifts when I wasn’t even an official customer yet).

Lesson 1: Set expectations with new customers and give them a little something extra.
On the day of the appointment, two smiling receptionists greeted us. We didn’t have to wait and were debriefed on what to expect.

Lesson 2: Be responsive to your customers’ needs and make it easy for your customers to interact with you. First impressions count!

While sitting in the waiting room, we discovered a “leaderboard” announcing the good news for the day. It welcomed new people to the office and listed the names of people getting their braces removed.

Lesson 3: Make your customers feel special. How can you recognize your appreciation for them?

We next had our consultation. The assistant asked a few questions and then stayed with us to chat with my son while we waited for the orthodontist.

Lesson 4: Ask the right questions, listen and engage in dialogue. Personal relationships are important.

When we spoke to the orthodontist, he asked my son some questions about his interests and made him feel important. He clearly outlined the procedure timing and the next steps.

Lesson 5: Treat people personably and with respect at all steps of service delivery. Repeat the expectation-setting process: We all forget sometimes.

Since that initial visit, we’ve received a variety of emails updating us on charity events, office holiday happenings and more.

Lesson 6: Stay connected with customers on a regular basis. While timing may not be right today, tomorrow might be the perfect day.

Consumers, individuals or businesses, have a number of choices when it comes to where they spend their money. How you market your offering — and customer service is a key component of your marketing message — is critical to your success. Does your company create a “wow” experience that makes it different?

Kristy Amy is vice president of strategy at SBN Interactive, a full-service marketing agency dedicated to producing measurable business results for its clients through comprehensive digital and content strategies.