All too often we think ‘we know what is best for our business’ when in fact we do not know if the customer agrees with us or not! The good news is that most business operators are keen to gather new information – but the bad news is that many will never put any of the ideas they read into action! It is not so much that they do not believe what they are reading or hearing – it is more the fact that it is more ‘comfortable’ to continue along the same path as before. They justify this path of non action by saying “it is better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.” Just remember – ‘non action means no results!’
Another thing that busy operators tend not to do is measure the results of what they do put into practice. If you place an advertisement, keep a record of what the ‘hits’ are you get as well as the sales. Then change ONE thing – it may be the heading; it may be the price; it may be some of the wording; it may be the guarantee; then check the results again. Be prepared to do this a few times until you get the winning combination for your target market.
It never ceases to amaze me how much money people will spend to gain new customers e.g. through advertising; but virtually spend nothing to keep existing customers. The old adage ‘the customer is always right’ is still relevant and real. It is also the case that ‘without customers you do not have a business’.
So put some time into developing customer incentives and reward systems; keep hard at work to build on your relationship via a newsletter and website; be prepared to invite them as guests to seminars and conferences you go to (you may pay for them or just invite them to join you); give them gifts at appropriate times of the year – in other words – treat them like kings and queens – make them feel special. This is the way to get a customer to become your ambassador and ‘spread the word’ about you, to their individual networks.
If you want your business to be on ‘everyone’s lips’ then don’t neglect your existing customer’s lips. Word of mouth is a powerful tool. As well as treating your customers admirably, you need to build credibility and trust. What can you do to make your business ‘stand out from your competitors?’ Think about it from a customer’s perspective. Let’s say, you, (the customer) are looking for an electrician. You check out the local papers and phone books and find fifteen listed. Which one will you choose? Your choice may be based on the headline; the text; or a graphic – but basically your choice will be based on luck! Now re-wind. If one of those 15 electricians had a ‘star rating’ and this was indicated in their advertisement – wouldn’t you be tempted to pick that one?
Everyone knows what a ‘star rating’ means; so if you are rated, you will definitely increase your customer base and add credibility for your existing customers to take notice of. Never underestimate the importance of making your customers feel special – you, as a customer, like to feel special – don’t you? Spend some time and effort into putting strategies into place to reward and thank existing customers and you business will grow and prosper.
Barbara Gabogrecan is a renowned artist and author, winning many awards. You can access the FREE e-report “Network and Make Your Customer King.” http://tinyurl.com/f67z2