09 September 2013

If you don’t invest in your customers someone else will

No one likes being taken for granted, and when it comes to being taken for granted by a business we spend money with, it hurts even more. The key hear is that business owners need to invest in their customers, because if they don’t, someone else will.

Here are five ways that I think we can invest in our customers to show them that we appreciate them:

1. Make a special offer just for existing customers

The best way to make someone feel special is to offer them something that has an air of exclusivity to it. I recently received an invitation from a local restaurant that was putting on a night for its best customers to let them try items from the new menu. It was a free night, with sample platters of new menu items and only existing customers were invited. The place was packed, we all felt special (even though there were about 150 people there) and we all felt closer to the restaurant, which by the way, had its best month ever following this event. Now this is a big special offer I know, but what could you be doing as a reward, as a special thank you or as a simple way to show that you appreciate your regular and loyal customers?

2. Ask your existing customers for their feedback and listen to what they say

We all know that we need to monitor customer satisfaction. But do we really invest in this process or is it a perfunctory task just to make sure we are answering the telephone efficiently? I think we need to go deeper. We need to spend some time with our customers, asking them better questions and really finding out what they like, what they don’t like and what products or services they would like us to offer. We should be doing this all the time. I have no doubt at all that any business that commits to this process will be constantly growing and evolving in a very positive way.

3. Give them something for free – on a regular basis

I recently received an invoice from my web developer for work done in the past month. There were several items on the list that had the words ‘No Charge – our way of saying thank you for your business’ next to them. I was really impressed by this simple gesture. I particularly liked it because I wasn’t expecting it and it certainly made me feel special. Now I know we can’t give everything away, but every single business can afford to give some small, low cost or labor only things away every once in a while to say thank you to our good customers. Believe me, it will go a very long way.

4. Stay in touch with them

We all need to stay in touch with our customers. Yes it takes time, energy and money to do things like newsletters, manage our social media, write blog posts etc, but this is essential to ensure we stay connected with our customers. If the only contact we have is when they come to buy something from us or when we are trying to sell them something, our relationship won’t be a very good one or a very long one, it will simply be a superficial one.

5. Never stop saying ‘thank you’

The simplest investment we can make is to take a few seconds to look someone in the eye and say a sincere ‘thank you’ for the business. The key here is the word sincere. Every time someone chooses to buy something from your business we need to remember they have a choice and they have made conscious decision to buy from you. This needs to be acknowledged and acknowledged in a very heartfelt way. It might be face to face, it might with be a ‘thank you’ email, a small card in the box or even a telephone call for no other reason than to say ‘thank you’.

Remember, if you don’t invest in your customers, someone else might.

 

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