Seven New Year's Resolutions to Become Indispensable to Your Customers

resolutions In today’s challenging economic landscape, certainties are few and far between. However, one aspect of business growth that will never change is the importance of maintaining strong relationships with your customers and clients. Even as technology evolves at lightning speed, there’s no device or platform that can take the place of the human element. When you invest time and hard work into demonstrating your trustworthiness and providing value beyond compare, your clients will realize that you’re not just another vendor but an integral element of their success. Here are seven new year’s resolutions you should make today to ensure that you’ll be indispensable to your customers in 2012.

1. Be early.

Being on time is good and well. But being early – whether it’s arriving at a meeting a few minutes before it’s scheduled to begin or finishing a project ahead of the deadline – speaks volumes to your customers about where they stand in the order of your priorities.

2. Be prepared.

An impromptu phone conference with your client, an unanticipated sales opportunity, an unforeseen emergency or technical glitch…the rule of business is to expect the unexpected. By staying well organized and on top of your game, you can approach any situation with a sense of self-assuredness that inspires confidence and builds trust.

3. Be agile.

The ability to adapt and evolve is a critical element to maintaining your competitive edge. For example, let’s say your client asks for your help with a project that falls outside your core capabilities. Do you turn them away, or do you draw upon your team’s creativity and technical expertise to provide an innovative solution? No matter your background or past experience, if you can readily adapt to new challenges and respond to new opportunities, you’ll become the go-to resource for your customers whenever a need arises.

4. Be curious.

Being curious goes hand-in-hand with being agile. You should be a perpetual student of your field. By staying on top of the news, trends and ideas that are shaping your industry, you’ll always be ready with an answer or solution when a client needs your help. Developing your own knowledge and skills translates directly to increasing your perceived value to your customers.

5. Be responsible.

How hard is it to simply admit that you’re wrong? Based on the number of celebrities and politicians who issue vehement denial after denial only to get caught red-handed, apparently it’s really tough. But if you can willingly admit your mistakes and take ownership for making them right, you will gain respect as someone who is always dependable and accountable, even when the chips are down.

6. Be creative.

Some say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but in reality, there’s always room for improvement. Don’t let your business get stuck in a rut. Every now and then, allow yourself time to step out of the daily grind and examine the big picture with fresh eyes. Sometimes a break in routine is all that’s needed to discover solutions that will help you and your team serve your customers better, faster and more efficiently.

7. Be humble.

Above all, be humble. All the talent and skills in the world don’t mean jack if you’re a jerk. Be confident in your abilities but realistic in your promises. Work hard without stopping at every milepost along the way to blow your own horn. Deliver consistently and let your record speak for itself. Remember: you’re nothing without your customers. If you put their success first, your own success will be multiplied exponentially by their lasting loyalty.

Here’s to your best year yet.

Certainly, in the world of business there are no guarantees, and sometimes you’ll lose a customer for reasons that are beyond your control. However, there’s no better way to stack the deck in your favor than by honing the skills and traits that make you and your company an invaluable asset to your clients. Commit to these resolutions now, and no matter where you stand today, you’ll be ringing in 2013 with happier customers and a brighter outlook.