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Turn a Toxic Business Relationship into Your Advocate

By: Lisa Patrick


Every business has a “Joyce,” that customer that is never satisfied. I have learned that my company is only as good as the customer service provided and communication skills engaged. But what shocked me the most is that my Joyce, who is a business owner herself and who was my most toxic customer, ended up being my biggest advocate.

Joyce is my customer who spread the word about how great my business is and swelled my business with relatives and neighbors who caught wind of how we were able to turn our toxic relationship into a great one. Here are some tips to help you turn that toxic client into your best client and advocate:
Personalize: Today online and social media is a daily part of our business routine. Learn more about your customer, their personal Twitter feed, Facebook page and build a more intimate relationship with your customer. Congratulate them when they reach a personal milestone, help them solve a problem and engage and share their company pages in an attempt to help their business—make your relationship about them. A tweet can go along way.
‘Shouldn’t we all collectively been trying to establish a relationship and engage with our customers from the proverbial get-go?’ asks @SteveOlenski, Forbes Magazine, in his article, “B2B and B2C marketers Agree- Relationship Marketing is Where It’s At.”
Common Ground: Increasing revenue is always something that Joyce and I had in common. I need more and so did she. Although we were unable to come to terms about the problem that was making our relationship toxic, I was able to provide a professional introduction to a decision maker in a company for Joyce that was valuable to her revenue.
In the end, these two strategies may not have resolved our problem, but what my efforts did was provide Joyce a value to her business and illustrated to her that although we disagreed, I was still able to invest in a building a relationship and take an invested interest in Joyce that was not self-serving. Joyce is now one of my company’s biggest fans.
This article was originally published by Convention Business Travel
Published: October 1, 2013

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Lisa Patrick

Lisa Patrick is the Chairman and CEO of Convention Business Travel. She is a savvy, innovative, business-focused executive with a strong network and proven track record with corporate and strategy. Lisa started her career in law enforcement and is now the founder of several successful startups. Lisa prides herself on building relationships first and conducting business next. Today, she successfully balances business, marriage and motherhood.

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