Monday, March 2, 2009

Customer Retention Check-Up

It is now almost the end of the first quarter of 2009. Some say we are in a recession; others have even mentioned a possible depression. So what are you doing differently this year in your business?

I don’t think the way we did business 3, 6 or 9 months ago is the way we can do business today and especially 3, 6 or 9 months from now. Let’s face it; most of us are in sales of one type of another. Even if you are a plumber, you have to always be selling your company from the person on the phone taking the service calls to the person installing or fixing the plumbing. Most companies spend their time getting new customers. Their contact management system has gotten larger and larger over the years. But how many of those customers only purchase from you once or twice? It is extremely surprising the numbers of customers who never come back or will drop you the moment someone just like you comes along (they don’t even have to be better than you.)

Many people say “I have a customer retention program, I send my customers an email when I run specials”. Or another one is “I send out direct mail pieces twice a year”. Customer follow-up should be less of your business and more of making your customer feel like you really care about them. Pick up the phone and call them, just to touch base, not to sell. Drop them a card on their birthday. You say you don’t know their birthday, well send them a birthday card any day of the month and put a note in it saying “I wasn’t sure when your birthday was but I wanted to let you know you are a special customer and I wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday at least once this year. Call me and let me know when your true birthday is so that I don’t let your special day slip by next year”. Just think the impact that will make in someone’s day. I bet none of your competitors do this.

These days, in this economy, the people and companies that create a personal bond with their customers are going to come out on top. It is time we all got back to basics and start making each other feel special and appreciated. Not with an email or a mass mailing, but with heartfelt messages.

So world…Who’s Been Waiting To Hear From You?