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10 Tips to Boost Partner Centricity

The word churn comes up a lot in company meetings, sadly, it's almost never about butter.

In the world of business, it refers to the rate at which customers stop doing business with a company over a given period of time. What, if anything, can a company do to mitigate this unhappy outcome?

Like most other companies, we're always looking for ways to improve our partner experience. We're invested in helping our partners succeed, in big ways and small. So we thought we'd share with you some of what we discovered about building strong partnerships. Who knows, it might even help you in  your efforts to decrease your company's churn rate.

A company can't exist without its customers, period. Following are some tips, most of which you probably already practice—but hopefully some of which are new to you—that will help to improve your customer-centricity efforts.

Tips to Help Boost Customer Retention

Listen 
Don't just tune your customer out while you wait for your turn to speak, actively listen to what they are telling you. It demonstrates to them that you care and will go a long way to building a relationship.

Stay current
Things change. Rapidly. Especially technology. You need to stay on top of that. Yesterday's technology will not be adequate for today's problems.

Apologize
Let's face it, we're human, we all screw up from time to time. Never be afraid to say "I'm sorry". It's always better than trying to find someone to blame. Apologize, deal with the problem and let your customer know what you've done.

Don't be dismissive
Everyone likes to feel important—and heard. It doesn't matter how inconsequential you think a question is, treat it (and the questioner) with respect. 

Keep your cool
Picture it, it's late on a Friday evening and you're just about to call it a day. You get a call from an irate customer with a significant (and potentially, time-consuming) problem. What do you do? Ignore your default instinct, don't give in to panic. If you stay calm, you might just help the customer do the same. It will make solving the problem infinitely easier—for both of you.

Anticipation
If you can anticipate your customers' need before it becomes a pressing concern, you've demonstrated your value unequivocally. To do this effectively, you need to know them well. So, get to know them.

Solutions-based
Being based is great, being solutions-based is even better. If you can offer a menu of solutions, chances are one of them is likely to hit the spot.

"Yes" is a superpower
If your customer has a request that is unexpected and out of the blue, but doable, say yes and figure out the how-to later. Just because you've never done something before doesn't mean you can't ever do it. Don't underestimate your capabilities.

Know your limits                                                                                                                                                  Saying yes is great, but don't do it if you can't deliver the goods. It's better to acknowledge your limits than under-deliver.  A perceived lack of competence will inevitably cost you a customer.

Don't be indifferent
Indifference is easy to spot. Your customer can tell if you're just paying them lip service. Always be sincere and honest.

And all costs, avoid the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (John Gottman's description of behaviours that will tank any business relationship).

  • Criticism
  • Contempt
  • Defensiveness
  • Stonewalling

Many of the suggestions listed above are just common-sense approaches to building lasting customer relationships. But, in the regular grind of day-to-day business, they can often be forgotten or simply ignored. Hopefully, this article has helped rekindle the spark to put your customers first.

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