Turning Customers into Friends is a Sales Strategy
And as @MarshaCollier tweeted back to me it's "The Human Touch"
Sales is the new service and service is the new sales. I've written before about my dislike for the word "Customers" in todays world of social media and new thinking.
Customers are transactional, Friends are loyal. How your company becomes friends with everyone who engages with your service team is up to each individual service representative. On the front line they are charged with the huge responsibility to represent your company and demonstrate all the values and characteristics of your brand.
Think about what it's like to have a friend. The loyalty, the respect, the trust, the mutual support and encouragement. Isn't that the sort of relationship you want from your customers?
Treating people like people, as if they were your friend is the the most important mindset for any customer service representative or sales person to get in. It requires you to relax. BIG point that, being relaxed, comfortable and confident is so vital to your service performance.
Anyway I think having a strategy to become friends with your customers is the best long term business strategy you could ever have. It involves your whole company, technology, social media, marketing and product development too. Plus it gives you the added advantage of actually enjoying every moment you have with your customers...because they are your friends too.