Court Your Customers Into Real LoveMegan Kopp
Court (kôrt) n. To try to gain the love or affections of
There are few major reasons why people don’t express love: fear, ego, commitment, anxiety, maybe even an unawareness of HOW to express love. Face it – Fear is Easy and Love is Hard! Are you running your business like your lack-luster relationships? Maybe it’s time to face up to these fears and complexities and start giving your customers some real love. Not only will it boost your bottom line, but it just might improve your company’s culture along the way. Here are a few things to consider when courting your customers:
1. Forget the past and move on: It’s important to show even your worst customer what a great partner you are in the relationship. Never burn a bridge if you can help it. You never know when that relationship will be important to you again. Go humbly out of your way to make something right. If you’ve given it your all to resolve, then be willing to move on.
2. Make it Simple and Sweet: Create unexpected joy for your customers. There are plenty of ways to put a smile on your customers or potential customers faces – so do it and make it memorable! Send a personal thank you, a social mention, or even a free product to show your sincere appreciation.
3. Be Honest: It seems easy enough, but even 5 year olds struggle with this concept. Your customers can sense your transparency or lack thereof. The only way to build trust is to start with honesty. Be brutally honest when it’s hardest to be: “We have a great new product out, but a run of 10,000 had quality issues; we are halting production and fixing the issue as fast as we can.” Whether your news is good or bad, your customers want to hear something real.
4. Listen and Act: People talk. Are you taking note of what your customers are saying? What are you doing about it? It’s hard to always listen, but it’s even harder to put ideas into action. Make every effort to fully hear what they’re saying and translate that into what that means for how you’ll do business going forward.
5. Be Accessible: Time is of the essence. You may think your slow response isn’t harmful, because you’re using that time to craft the best message ever or figure out the best plan to move forward – Not so! Even if you don’t have the perfect answer or even a good answer, respond right away with your intent to get back to them. Timely response will show them just how important they are.
6. Care and Be Genuine: Don’t just treat your customers “like” you love them. Truly love them. Be personal. Acknowledge how your customers feel and take ownership. A nice personal message in order to make a sale with no follow up after the sale, will be a red flag that your priorities are out of whack. The question to ask yourself is, “how can I serve more?”, not, “how can I sell more?” You get that right and the sales will follow.
After all, without your customers, you’d be back to begging your mom to be your first customer and wondering where your next paycheck is coming from. Don’t forget the hard work that got you here; give that gratitude back to your customer every chance you get. Make this Valentine’s Day and this year a time when you show your best love yet!
Sarah Bey, Operations Manager, UNI Center for Business Growth and Innovation