Customer Success — Making customers your friends

A while ago I read this really great quote that has stuck with me ever since:

“Don’t make your friends customers, make your customers your friends.”

I can’t exactly recall where I read this — so if it’s yours, thank you. I cannot think of a more accurate way to conduct my customer relations on a daily basis.

Let’s talk about the first half of that quote first. Now I’m not saying that trying to bring your friends on to your business is a bad idea — if anything they may be your first supporters and help propel you into success, but let’s be honest… friends like benefits. Benefits then turn into privileges that turn into rights, and since “they know the CEO,” well then how does anyone say no? If you’re going to jump into business with a friend, make sure that both you and the other party is aware of where friendship ends and business begins.

So how is this different from turning your customers into friends?

People like being looked after

Isn’t it nice when someone asks how your day is? Guess what — your customers like it too. Adding a personal touch to your responses makes people feel loved and looked after. Avoid simply answering their question with a yes or no, but add a little fluff to it. As you establish a relationship, you’ll get to know more about your client, who they are as a person, and what their likes and dislikes are.

For Science!

If you don’t believe me, let’s use science to explain it.

Neurotransmitters are the brain chemicals that communicate information throughout our brain and body. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in controlling among many things, moods, positive reinforcement and dependency. The brain’s reward circuit, or medial forebrain bundle (MFB) is activated in the desire–action–satisfaction cycle.

When the cortex has received and processed a sensory stimulus indicating a reward, it sends a signal announcing this reward to a particular part of the midbrain–the ventral tegmental area (VTA)–whose activity then increases. The VTA then releases dopamine not only into the nucleus accumbens, but also into the septum, the amygdala, and the prefrontal cortex.

In other words, being kind to someone releases chemicals in the brain that make them feel good. The brain can then associate the subject (you) with this positive reinforcement, and keeps coming back for more.

Good relationship = Good Communication

You now have the advantage — your client actually likes you! Now let them get to know you. With good relationships come good communication. Not only will they be more open to giving you product feedback which in turn helps you, but they will also be more receptive to understanding when something goes wrong.

BFF’s

Your client likes you, likes your company, and understands a bit better the inner-workings of your workflow. This gives you a better chance when they go on to another job or another project, that they will bring you along with them… and this means only one thing for you:

Be kind, rewind, everybody wins.