The cornerstone of any successful business is in direct proportion to the nature of the relationship it has with its clients. I know it sounds simple enough, though you'd be surprised how many businesses fail to recognize this simple idea and in turn are unable to maintain relationships that keep them thriving month and month, and year after year.
The key to successful relationships with clients is emotional intelligence. According to Psychology Today, emotional intelligence or EQ refers to the ability to identify and manage one's own emotions, as well as, the emotions of others.
As a Breakup Recovery Coach and someone who has 25 years in customer service, I discovered this simple principle early on. In order for us to be able to serve our clients in a way that's not only about building business but also about building relationships, we give our clients what they need every step of the way. When clients feel their needs are being met consistently, they will stay loyal and our business flourishes.
One of the biggest pieces here is understanding which emotions are driving the needs of our respective businesses. So, how do you do that?
While the term, Emotional Intelligence can sound daunting and scary, it's actually pretty simple. While every aspect of EQ is important, the two components I find most useful in client facing roles are empathy and social skills.
Here are some practical steps using some of the premises of EQ to give your clients the type of loving care they yearn for in their everyday dealings:
First, understand and recognize that for every email address, phone number or contact you have, they represent a living and breathing human being and not just a dollar sign. Here's where empathy and social skills are critical. While empathy allows you to understand your client, your social skills will help you meet them where they are.
Second, put aside your business needs for a moment and identify what your customer needs. When you can truly be in genuine service for the needs of your customer, you'll be able to serve them better and anticipate their future needs in order to keep them as a customer.
Third, and this is major, learn how to resolve conflict. Of course, we'd love to believe that if we treat our customers respectfully, meet their needs and serve them well, there will be little to no conflict, however, that isn't always the case. Conflict arises in any relationship we have and it usually stems from miscommunication. Effective communication is critical in resolving conflict. Having empathy and social skills will go a long way in resolving conflict with your clients and when your clients feel heard, they will stick with you.
While there are many attributes of a robust and successful business, relationships are the most important piece. Our clients drive our revenue/income and how we relate to them is crucial to maintaining, not only monetary success, but having a brand image that becomes awe inducing and a symbol of true success.