This acronym is the lifeblood of any business.
Clients, customers, call them what you will, without them no business is successful. We want to keep the current ones we have and we also want to attract new ones to help us grow our businesses. For some businesses this is a fairly easy process as they provide “essential” services, for others it is a complicated process as the services they provide are not essential. Either way we all need them and if we market ourselves properly we can have them calling us rather than us chasing them down.
Loyalty to your customer and from your customer. Some of the major supermarkets honed this skill of developing customer loyalty by issuing cards that accrue points over time to be given back in discount vouchers or special offers. This is perceived as a win/win situation, they remain loyal to you for remaining loyal to them. Ireland, until a few years ago, was known as a brand loyal country and because of this it was difficult for new brands to break into the market. The demise of the Celtic tiger put paid to that.
Interest. Develop and maintain a healthy interest in your clients. The best ever car salesman in the world had a Rolodex with all his clients details on it, including family member, their dates of birth, special upcoming events, as well as when they bought their cars from him. He sent out birthday cards to all customers and their family members, same at Christmas, weddings, funerals, births, etc as well as reminders of when their cars were due servicing. At the time he was spending an average of $200 per month and reaping the rewards of over $5,000 per month in extra commissions and bonuses. Ask any of his clients if he was interested in them and they stoutly replied that his interest and concern for their well being was genuine, because for him it was.
Engagement with your clients is another great way to keep them coming back. Many companies use social media as a means to stimulate their clients engagement today. However, there are just as many offline methods for doing this as there are online. Remember the film Charlie And The Chocolate Factory? It doesn’t have to be as elaborate as that, nor will that work for all types of business. Surveys are a really good way to engage your current and potential clients, competitions are another. There are lots of different ways, experiment and see what works for your business.
New clients. To maintain itself a business needs to retain the current clients at their current spending rates. To grow that business needs to attract new clients and develop them into current clients. To keep on growing it is simply a process of repeating the process. I constantly hear the phrase “people buy people” they don’t buy the product or service you provide and for some businesses that means employing others to be front of house for them because they don’t have the required skills or don’t like being at the coal face themselves.
Trust is huge. Your clients have got to know that they can trust you not to rip them off in the first place and that you will provide any necessary aftercare that might be required if they do business with you. So many businesses today only provide one form of aftercare due to cutbacks and rationalisations, however this costs many of them to lose their current clients. Just because technology has advanced in leaps and bounds does not mean that clients have, nor should they because you want them to. The best way to build trust with a client is to understand their needs and provide them for them – their way.