NASE Blogs

Customer Relations is Profitable Marketing!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It’s a fact ... most businesses big and small spend the majority their marketing dollars and marketing efforts looking for new customers. Ask a business owner what their marketing goal is and most will tell you, “Trying to entice people to pick-up the phone so the business can dazzle them with their products and abilities”. And while we are so busy trying to get a message out to people who don't know us, we ignore a mother lode of potential customers who have their checkbooks waiting for us to tell them what to put on the pay-to-the-order-of line. So who is this untapped money machine? None other than our existing customers!

 

It shouldn't take long to realize that it's easier to sell someone you've already done business with than someone you have to convince for the first time. And you don’t have to spend much of your profit dollars to get them in the door. Some studies estimate that it costs five to ten times as much to create $1 in revenues from new customers as it does to create the same $1 from existing customers. So if you really want to maximize your marketing dollars, try spending as much effort at chasing your existing customers as you do at finding new customers. Encourage them to use you again and tell their friends and acquaintances how great it is to do business with you.

 

There are a couple of caveats to getting existing customers to use you on a continued basis and become one of your best salespeople by telling other people about you ... You have to develop a strong customer satisfaction and an ongoing communication program with every customer you have. A program that makes you stand out from every other competitor! Sure, there's a lot of lip service about good customer service and treating customers with all the respect they deserve. But when was the last time you heard from a business with?

 

Dear Valued Customer:

We would like to take a few moments to express our appreciation for the opportunity to have served you in the past. We know that businesses come and go and we are all so busy at times that we forget to let those most important to our business know how much we appreciate them.

As a valued customer we would like to say thank you in a more tangible way and are enclosing a coupon for $50 off any purchases you make with us.

Is this a new idea? Of course not ... but when was the last time you got a thank you like this from a business. More likely what you see are the promotions that reward people who have never spent dime one with a business ... “for new customers only”!

 

Imagine this scenario, at the place where you get your haircut. You've been going to the same salon regularly for the past year. While you're waiting the person next to you asks how you like the salon; it's that person's first visit and they came because there was a $4-off coupon they got in the morning paper. You've got time, so go out to the closest Quick Serve store spend 75-cents on a newspaper to save $4 on your haircut. You feel pretty good .... until you look at the coupon's small print. "Good for first time customers only!" You wonder who's really getting "trimmed" ... and which hair salon you'll be going to the next time you need a haircut.

 

And a good customer relations program means more than just getting work from existing customers. It means a total commitment to customer satisfaction! Too many businesses do little more than use the term "customer service" to make customers think they care. I am developing a serious dislike for even hearing the words "customer service". What I want is satisfaction. And I don't think I am much different than any other consumer, including you. All I want is the consideration due me as a customer who is putting a roof over your head, food on your table, and helping put your kids through college. And if you don't want to give me that satisfaction, no problem, I'm more than happy to give your competitors the chance to get me as a customer.

 

Here's a new theory that might cause a little commotion: Customer service is not what brings customers back. You can have the best product or service on the market and your employees can put on their biggest smiles. But if your customers aren't satisfied they'll go to competitors. The key word here is "satisfaction". There is a principle difference between good customer service and satisfying a customer. As an example, two couples are sitting in a restaurant at tables next to each other. They sit down at exactly the same time, order the same meals, and are served by the same person; yet one couple is satisfied with the service and the other couple isn't. The satisfaction difference is the first couple is celebrating their anniversary and looking for a quiet leisurely dinner. The second couple is having dinner before a play and they're running late. Same level of service but different demands to be satisfied.

 

Here is a question every business owner needs to ask, regardless of how good your customer service is ... Are you providing customer satisfaction? And if you always have your eyes on who is with someone else ... trying to figure out a way to get them to be one of your customers, stop looking and start dancing with the one that brung you!

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