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Formpipe Software AB
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20 July 2022 Blog Insight

5 Top Tips for Building Effective Relationships with B2B Customers

<p>Tre människor som pratar, ler och pekar på ett papper med kaffekoppar i handen.</p>

Tomorrow (July 21) is officially ‘Get To Know your Customers Day’! It’s a ‘recognised day’ which aims to act as a reminder for businesses to reach out and interact with their customers. Here at Formpipe, we believe that 'getting to know your customers' should be an ongoing practice. Our strong and long-lasting relationships are what we pride ourselves on, and it’s our valued client feedback that lets us know we’re on the right track.

Marc Jenkins is Formpipe’s Customer Success Manager, he’s responsible for the support and care of our customer accounts within the Private Sector. He’s worked in Solution Sales for nearly three decades and has created a fool-proof formula for building effective and trusting relationships. He shared:

“In the first year of my career, I sold Lasernet to a valued customer. I called a year later and discovered they’d purchased an archive solution from a different business. They didn’t know we’d developed our own archiving software and so they went to a competitor.

This forced me to reflect on the way I interact with customers, so I created five golden rules which I still follow 27 years later. They encourage me to be proactive, empathetic and authentic – allowing me to build trusting and long-long-term relationships with partners and customers.”

Marc has provided us with his five guidelines for guaranteeing customers stay engaged, informed and, most importantly, happy.  Note that these suggestions are specific to Marc’s experience in the B2B space, however they can be applied to almost any business model.

1) Maintain regular contact

This one might sound like a given, but you’d be surprised by how many businesses don’t regularly interact with their customers. Sure, you don’t want to continuously overwhelm them with calls – that would be counteractive. However, your clients deserve to feel cared for and respected, so don’t just ‘sell and forget.’

Marc says:

“Your customers have invested in you, so you need to invest in them. Things in business change quickly and your communication may arrive at just the right time.”

2) Listen, identify and empathise

Whether it’s a positive or negative situation, always take the time to listen to your customer and show empathy towards their situation. First and foremost, they are human beings who enjoy feeling heard and understood. Whether they want to discuss an exciting idea or raise a complaint, you should be listening with open ears and an open mind.

“If you give your customers the time and attention, they will remember this and it will help in forming a trusting and long-lasting relationship. Plus, remember you have two ears and one mouth, always use them in that proportion” says Marc.

3) Have patience

Waiting for a customer to respond can be frustrating, we get it. But, have patience. The last thing they’ll appreciate is endless chasing when they’re already under the pump. You’re there to offer support and solutions, you are not a box shifter.

Marc says:

You should let your customer go at their own pace, they will not take well to undue pressure. When they  do eventually respond to you, don’t give them the cold shoulder – get back to them in a timely manner.”

4)  Educate and inform

Your customer has already invested in your business and the product. They want to be kept up-to-date with the latest features, upgrades and changes. Don’t be afraid to educate them on what’s new and how they can get the most out of your products. Your clients are paying for a service, they deserve to be kept in-the-know. Marc says:

“Don’t hide yourself, the company or the product by not communicating. Customers want to hear from you and they appreciate feeling informed and up-to-date.”

5) Be yourself!

Remember, you’re a human too. So, yes, be professional, but also get to know your clientele on a personal level. Forming a genuine relationship and dare we say a ‘friendship’ leads to a long-lasting and authentic partnership. Marc says:

“People buy from people. Be yourself, be polite, be respectful, tell your customers about who you are. They want to feel part of a trusted team dynamic.”

While these guidelines may seem simple, they can make a mountain of difference when it comes to building solid relationships with (who should be) your valued clients. If you’re not effectively communicating with them, you’re not just restricting yourself and your business, you also aren’t doing right by your customers.

Marc finishes by saying:

“Onboarding a new customer can takes month, sometimes years, of hard work and investment. If you don’t take care of them or follow these basic principles, then all of that effort will have been for nothing.”

Want to see some examples of customer relationships done right? To see what our partners & clients think of us, check out our case studies.