"Dear Angela, what are some of the best practices I can use to develop excellent customer relationships?"
Listen. Know their business. Understand the cycle.
Did you ever get the feeling the person you are talking to isn’t listening? They hear you but they aren’t listening. Customers generally LOVE to talk about their businesses. Take the time to really listen to what you are hearing. You’ll learn a lot!
This one is a bit tougher but is really critical if you are going to have “excellent” relationships. Don’t assume you’ll learn more about their business than they know but they’ll be happily impressed when you are aware of changes and the history of their business or industry. Just do some basic research, I’d say a couple hours at least. Don’t just scan the top 3 google articles you can find. Really take a look a what the company is doing and then look around at others in that same industry. Knowledge is power.
And last, understand the cycle. Marketing, sales, support and feedback. Regardless of the size of business, this is the CRM cycle. You’re probably going to be in all 4 cycles with different projects. Maybe you’re marketing to them a new feature or process. You’re working on an SOW for a different feature. And then you’re working with your team to support the delivery of yet another project or feature. And last but not least, you are always, always open for feedback.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Angela PM is the executive leader of Project Insight’s latest project management platform, PI#team. She is a natural born leader and of course, Project Management is her passion. Angela is a Project Management Consultant with over 15 years of experience managing complex website projects. She has worked her tail off to become the best professional in her industry. Many in her field respect, admire and even fear the amount of dedication and detail she puts into her work. Her expertise, coupled with her positive and straight-forward attitude make her the perfect person to get industry insight from.