Customers the Respect They Want and Deserve
Keeping existing customers
is critical to the long-term success of any business. They can be the
source of repeat business, additional business and referrals of quality
prospects. Quality products that do what they are supposed to do are one
element of a happy customer relationship. But so are many intangibles.
In all cases, your customers have selected your product instead of those
of the competition. This conscious decision was probably based on the
product and on your company. You should feel good about that choice and
let the customer know of your appreciation. It can be a simple, but heartfelt,
thank you or you can do something more. Delivering something extra (and
probably not in the form of a price break) can demonstrate your appreciation.
Try including a little gift or shipping overnight without charging more
and see the reaction. Be sure the customer knows you are taking the extra
Valuing the relationship
Most customers like to do business with existing vendors. It is easier,
usually faster and they know what to expect. They want the relationship
to work and they know it must be mutually beneficial. This is something
more than appreciating the business.
No one likes to feel
that they are on the wrong end of a one-way relationship. A constant stream
of sales pitches can create a one-way feeling. Find ways to remind the
customers of your presence without constantly bombarding them with sales
pitches. You may want to consider some form of a newsletter that combines
information the customer can use along with information about your products
or your company.
Caring about customer's
As much as you may want your customers to be concerned about your success,
their primary interest is their own success. If you can provide ideas
or suggestions that can help them be more successful or do their job easier,
it shows you care about them. Certainly asking a simple "How is it
going today?" may prompt a response. Offering a useful insight that
the customer may be able to use can work wonders. Without violating a
different customer relationship, you may be able to tell how a different
customer was able to address an issue important to the customer. Depending
on the situation, you may even be able to arrange a call from the other
customer. Position yourself and your company as a source of solutions.
Making the customer
It can be difficult to differentiate among customers. Yet, many companies
are able to do this well. Airlines provide special benefits for frequent
fliers, companies offer special phone lines or parts of their websites
for groups of customers and others have special check-out or service lines.
Interestingly, these special benefits are more about service than they
are about price. They provide a convenience or save the customer time.
The term "respect" can be difficult to define. In summary, respecting
the customer is really just treating them the way you would like to be
treated. Consider the relationships and experiences you have with those
selling you items or services. Identify what makes you feel good about
doing business with those organizations and you will probably be well
on your way to finding many ways to give your customers the respect they
want and deserve.