It’s Valentine’s Day. Maybe it’s over-hyped and it’s certainly expensive. However, we’re not talking about sending chocolates or flowers or going to see a top West End show. The most expensive aspect of Valentine’s day is not loving your customers sufficiently. There are many amorous competitors out there who would only be too delighted to take your best customers into their embrace. And, you don’t want your customers to fall willingly into their arms.
So, what are you doing to prevent the above from happening? It’s easy when you’re full of love. Everything runs smoothly when you’re in regular contact and your customers feel valued. But, how often do you engage with the customers that are on the fringes? In other words, those that aren’t as demanding as those that shout loudest. It may be that they’re infrequent purchasers or the value of sale is relatively low.
The problem is that the 80:20 rule usually applies. And, that means some customers are receiving insufficient love and care. The problem is that you may not know which ones have potential for a deep and meaningful (profitable) long-term relationship. Unless you engage with them properly, you may never know. And, when you do find out, it may, sadly, be too late.
During our formative years, we’ve all experienced rejection. It hurts. And, it feels like you’ll never heal or love again. In business, the damage may be longer-lasting especially if a trickle of customer defections becomes a flood.
What do you need to do?
It all starts with getting to know the customer. Of course, one would hope that the fact that they’re customers means that you know each other well. But, is that always the case? With online sales and infrequent purchasing, can you genuinely say, hand on heart, that you know every customer?
If you can’t, it’s time to put a plan in place to engage and build on the relationship you have now. Customer satisfaction surveys are a good start. They make the customer feel ‘listened to’. However, that only happens when you listen to what they tell you and respond.
A customer service call takes things one stage further. It’s possible that the numbers mean you can’t call every client and speak to every buyer. Of course, that’s where GSA can help, through a programme of customer care calls to ensure that your customer feels loved. If you’re doing it yourself, pull together a programme of calls across the year so that larger customers have more regular calls, but every customer has a minimum of one call (ideally more) each year. Unfortunately, without making enough calls, you’ll never know if a small customer now can blossom into a wonderful long-term customer.
Clearly, we don’t all live in a perfect world of roses and cherry blossom. Commercial realities dictate, however, it’s much more expensive and time-consuming to embark on a round of dating following the end of a relationship than it is to be warm and cosy in a loving steady relationship. So, don’t neglect your customers and drive them into the arms of another suitor.