November 9, 2006

How do you secure the future of your business?  By establishing long-lasting relationships with your key customers.   The better the relationship, the longer it will last and the more secure your business will be.

How do you establish solid, long-lasting relationships with your best customers?  Of course, the answer varies based upon the type of business you are in.  However some fundamental truths reach across all business types:

1.  Communicate.   Talk with your customers!  Ask them  how they feel about your product and/or service.  What are the good, the ugly and the bad about your product/service.   How would they improve your product/service?  Who in the industry do they feel does a better job?  If you can’t talk directly, what about letters, e-mails and other forms of communication?  Communicate often, not just once.  AND, respond quickly to any concerns or suggestions.

2.  Pleasant surprises.  We talked about this before.  Surprise your customers with the unexpected.  If you are a hotel, give a frequent guest a bottle of wine with a nice note.  If you are an auto dealer, what about a free service?  If you are a heavy toothpaste user, what about a free toothbrush?  AND, do this with some frequency!  Not just once.  Think of it as how you would treat your best friends.

3.  Listen.  Once you open up a dialogue, listen very carefully to what your key customers tell you.  Remember it is all about them and not about you, your Company or your products/services.  AND, respond with empathy and due consideration to their thoughts and suggestions.  There is nothing more damaging to a relationship then no response.

The old adage of “do unto others” certainly applies here.  So, take it to heart and if you do, your business will be much more stable and will grow accordingly.


Bizvice:  Strategy, Marketing & Entrepreneurship


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