Keeping Customers Part 2
posted: Friday, January 29, 2016
As you become increasingly adept at building personal relationships with customers, a new dilemma crops up: How the heck do you keep track of all those personal details that comprise the lives of each customer? It does no good for anyone if you remember that Little Tommy plays football with the Little Town Cougars if the customer is an avowed bachelor who prefers cats and plants to people. It could be a real disaster if you begin to discuss the recent trip to Mexico with the customer who just spent a month skiing the Alps. Spouses take exception to "misremembered" life details like that!
So it is truly of utmost importance that those details that your customers have shared with you remain straight. Impeccably! The easiest way to do that is through the use of Customer Profile Cards. Having a formalized and uniform system to track important customer details and the history of contacts (and sales) for each is an extremely valuable resource in the building of your customer base. Plus, if that information is organized carefully, it can be used to mail birthday cards, anniversary cards or to make general catch-up contacts for each customer. Then, as new contacts occur, it becomes a routine part of your day to notate each, thus keeping up-to-date with each customer.
It is a significant part of the relationship with your customer to contact them by their preferred method. Some customers enjoy handwritten notes; others prefer phone calls; still others only want emails--which ever manner communications can be established being certain to honor the preferences of each customer is important to enhance the relationship that you are building! Again, personalizing each communication imparts the exact value you hold for each customer.
Is it easier and most efficient to send mass emails? Maybe. For me personally, if a mass email crosses my desk, it may get a cursory glance; generally it gets pushed right to the trash bin. Similarly, phone calls that are impersonal tend to be directed to voicemail, never to be retrieved! So while mass mailings, emails, phone calls seem to be effective, in reality, the communications that are personal and one-to-one based produce best interactions precisely because they are tailored to each individual and therefore, communicate directly the value that each customer has.
It is my personal contention that customers react to being classed as "customers" or as personal friends. If I am a customer, I feel no loyalty nor pressure to shop repeatedly at a particular store. If I am a friend of the salesperson, when I need or want something that I can purchase from my friend, I am most likely to make a bee line to see that friend and get the best that the market has to offer and to catch up with my friend! Relationship makes the world of commerce enjoyable. Without it, satisfaction is generally minimal and uninspired.
Enjoying relationships with customers creates an awesome work environment and makes those interactions heartwarming and rewarding. Additionally, introducing your friends to your teammates adds depth to the relationship; just like introducing friends to other friends. In the team situation, it is important that customers know that, in your absence (or unavailability) they still have a viable resource upon which to rely. Again, adding dimension to your customer relationships and enhancing team interaction creates a positive environment for all concerned.
Creating the atmosphere that imparts value to all involved begins the formation of community or family; each individual entering the front door is a part of that community and the interrelatedness of that community benefits all who are a part of it.
FINAO - Brad Huisken