All businesses, whether they provide a service or sell a product are really in the relationship business first. To whatever degree, all businesses and service has the opportunity to form a relationship. Even if it is an online transaction or if the service last only a few seconds, like the initial greeting of a customer, the immediate response when dealing with customer problems or even providing a short compliment to a customer.

Over 70 percent of guests at the Disney parks are repeat visitors with many being multiple visits. What is interesting is that many have come to call parts of their visit as “my favorite park”, “our hotel”, or “my restaurant”. It is almost as if they have taken ownership of the park or resort hotel and pride that comes along with it. Guests have created a bond and a relationship with certain parts of the park, hotel or employees who are connected with them. This makes them ambassadors and will share their experiences with others.

This is why building relationships are so important to Disney. It costs an average family nearly $1,500 per day to visit yet Disney makes it a business decision to build relationships with their guests by creating experiences so unique and memorable, that it makes them want to return over and over again. Disney focuses on building relationships and the trust that goes with it over years and in some cases over generations. In fact, is not uncommon to find guests who have enjoyed the Disney experience for nearly 60 years. What do think is the lifetime value of that customer?

You have to look at your customers and clients, not as a transaction unit but as a possible lifetime relationship with them. The secret behind building relationships and creating relationship experiences begins with the way you connect with your customers and how they view it and feel valued. Do your customers feel like a transaction for dollars or a relationship that you care?

Does your business and staff have a commitment to building relationships and developing lifelong customers? Building relationships can take time and effort, but they are the foundation for creating loyal ambassadors promoting and telling the world about your business.

Here a few tips that will help you stay connected and begin building relationships with your customers:
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1. Have a system to keep your regular customers informed of sales, specials, or opportunities of interest.  Follow up and get back with your customers to ensure they are satisfied. They will learn to count on you.

2. Add value by offering something more than the customers expected or giving them a little extra. Value is the basis for building a relationship. It tells them that you appreciate their business and want them to return.

3. Make sure everyone in your business understands the value of building relationships with your customers. Recognize, reward, talk about it at staff meetings, share examples and let them know it is part of every ones  job responsibilities.

If you build lasting relationships with your customers, they will return again and again. You will also be referred and recommended and that’s when a business begins to see real  growth and profitability. Now that is Magical!