It's All About the Data

It's All About the Data
It's All About the Data

Monday, March 10, 2014

The 3 F's of Customer Connection

Making connections with your customer is key to having a successful relationship with the customer, increase customer retention, and create customer referral.  Usually there is some connection in the beginning with the customer, such as; shared schooling, past experience, even lowest price.  But even lowest price will not keep the customer connected to you - believe it or not.

So how do you keep connected with customers? 

Customers can be strange and wonderful things - always in a hurry, always in crisis mode, and always looking for the right answer - right now. 

Steve Butler taught me about the three F's of customer connection.  I must admit it has served me well, and usually achieves the goal of increased customer connection.

You must elicit from the customer that you understand how the customer feels.  They must have validation to move towards a successful outcome.

I want the price to be lower.
Yes, all pricing is going up.
I am upset about the training.
It is always difficult to train and not see benefit.
The weather has been too cold.
Yes, I agree it has been cold this winter.

See, how we have not committed to anything yet, it is just validating the emotional 'thrust' the customer is demonstrating.  The usual problem is we search to defend too quickly, not allowing the customer their time to vent.

This is part 2 of the validation process.  I can say that I 'feel' for you, but that will not be enough.  Customers want to be validated that others have felt the same way too.

I want the price to be lower.
Other customers have said this.
I am upset about the training.
Customers have found post-training to be overwhelming.
The weather has been too cold
I heard on the radio that most people think this has been the coldest winter in a decade.

Now your customer understands they are not alone.  Other people may have felt the same way.  This usually starts the calming down part of the conversation.  The customer by the end of this phase has lost some steam, some angst, and is now ready to get to a solution.

This is where your efforts in Part 1 and Part 2 pays off.  You have some input you want to provide the customer, and have heard what they have to say and validated those emotions.  Found is simply how you phrase your input.

I want the price to be lower.
Customers have found that the following added benefits are worth the increase in price.
I am upset about the training.
Our past students found that after they started on a new project within 30 days of training, they quickly became productive.
The weather has been too cold
I found that if I go on a short vacation to a sunny climate, the cold weather isn't so bad.

If I had tried these statements earlier, I would have met with resistance from the customer.  Because I have feel, felt, found - the customer is now more willing to listen and understands that I have heard them; therefore deepening the connection between us.

Utilize this technique and see  how customers are more willing to talk with you, engage with you, and continue the business relationship.

David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (  David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation.  @dhaynestech.

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