Businesses would do well to think about building sustainable relationships with their customers as if they were in love!
We all know that in business it’s easier to keep a client than find a new one – the same could be said of finding a suitable partner! Yet so many businesses give up all too easily on a possible lifelong customer relationship as they forget to lavish care and attention on the customers they already have. Instead they focus all their efforts on courting new customers and they take their eye off their existing ones.
Enlightened businesses know how to treat customers with continuous care and love. They know that like any other relationship, they have to work at it. Once a new client is found the challenge becomes to keep their attention and the love alive. How do you do that?
You could try sending them a small gift or reward them with some added value perhaps by introducing them to a new solution for them to try free of charge. Take them out to lunch, buy them coffee whatever you can think of but above all give them your time. I love businesses that do that, the ones that go out of their way to stay innovative, discover more about my problems and who actually listen to what I have to say. Simple stuff.
My point is who hasn’t been served by a business which is far more interested in their short-term gain (and our cash), than seeking to create value for us. A sort of ‘transactional approach’ to doing business. Businesses like this seem to think customers are in a never ending supply. They take no notice of what we want and leave us feeling ripped off, un loved and taken for granted. If that rings a bell then make sure it’s not your customer’s experience of your service.
Staying in touch is Key
I encourage my clients to keep in regular contact with their contacts and constantly seek to find new ways to add massive value to their customer base. This is central to their culture and what’s more everyone in the business knows it. Some of my super switched on clients know they need to also ‘show the love’ to their internal customers (aka employees) as much as the paying ones. I wonder how many others go that far? Do you?
Here are a few examples of how easy it is to show the Love.
I know of a superb hotel team who make it their business to ensure that the windscreens of their customers’ vehicles are clear of debris before they travel on to their next destination. This simple act costs little and yet is priceless in terms of demonstrating how much they care. How can you apply this in your business? What simple act can you do that demonstrates your love?
I know of a marketing business owner who goes out of their way to provide solutions that are cost effective and measurable. Often researching long into the night to ensure their creative solution is on-brief and under budget. Imagine that, a business that is brave enough to come in under budget? These guys are smart. They are in it for the long term and they know that the life time value of a customer is worth far more than a single good pay day. Makes you think doesn’t it?
I know of an employer who genuinely feels that their biggest company asset is their people. They go out of their way to find ways to maintain motivation and reward loyalty. This company finds novel ways to keep people on board and in the loop. The MD makes sure they keep in personal contact with their people and communication is on-going, open and clear. When was the last time you made eye contact with your staff and asked how they were doing? Do that today!
So how can you Love your Customers this Valentine’s Day and make it a habit year long? Here are a few simple tips:
Understand your customer’s pain and seek to solve it. Look for ways to help them solve their challenges by helping them think and plan. If your solution helps solve their pain then great. Even if you cannot help at the time, one thing you can do is simply listen to help them think through their options.
Share your connections – keep an eye out for opportunities. Keep an eye out for news that may help them achieve their goals, share market intelligence and your best contacts so they can benefit from your network.
Lavish them with attention. If you are not meeting with your clients face to face at least twice a year then you are nowhere near close enough to them! Make a point of meeting up to review how you are doing. Challenge your team to do more and be more attentive. I promise you if you do not them someone else will!
Finally surprise them. We all love to be surprised and not just on Valentine’s Day. Do something they do not expect, send them a tray of cakes, buy them dinner, and send a card or a solution they do not expect. Do whatever you can to ensure you stay front of their mind and heart!
If you think this has been a worthwhile read then pass it on and share the love!