I found an interesting item on the Fox Small Business Center website, written by Teri Evans. She wrote an essay titled “Leveraging Loyalty: How to Keep CustomersHooked.”
In this economic environment, and with Wal-Mart announcing free shipping for its online sales, competition for consumer dollars is getting tougher for mom-and-pop businesses. So, I decided to read Teri’s ideas, and while I was doing so, I realized these concepts were wonderful for relationships of all kinds:
Rule 1: Don’t Wait for Complaints Before You Step Up the Charm
Calls and handwritten notes to customers to share your appreciation for their business (without trying to up-sell them) makes people feel great about your company or service.
Heck, wouldn’t your spouse, friends, kids, or neighbors just love opening their mailbox and finding a cute, sweet, warm note – handwritten by you – expressing how appreciative you are about something they’ve done?
Rule 2: Start From the Inside
Experts say you must consider the trickle-down effect your employees have on the customer experience. Happy employees treat customers better.
Well, imagine how wonderful life would be in your home and life if you struck first, giving the people you deal with the most positive vibes and strokes, and watch how kids getting good vibes and strokes then treat their siblings and friends!
Rule 3: Personalize Your Connection
Look for ways to celebrate your customers’ successes that have nothing to do with you. Subscribe to customers’ newsletters or set up Google alerts about them. Check out their Facebook site. Support your customers in other aspects of their lives.
Hey, how about keeping abreast of what your friends, family and neighbors are doing with births, graduations, motorcycle rides for charity, new jobs, and on and on. A call or handwritten note will go a long way to breeding peace, harmony, and appreciation.
Rule 4: Create an Inner Circle
If you’re developing a new product or program, consider bringing in your most loyal customers to serve as a focus group and give their opinions. That will increase their interest and loyalty and probably give you good ideas.
Okay, so have weekly family meetings over low fat popcorn to discuss everyone’s situations, concerns, complaints, and satisfactions, and let everyone’s voice be heard AND always find some one thing from each person’s comments to use. It makes for more family harmony when everyone feels heard and feels they have some “say.”
Rule 5: Pay Attention
Stay alert to potential problems and ask for feedback; do it early and often.
Whoa! I can’t tell you how often callers tell me their spouse is having an affair or a friend dumped them, and when I ask is that spouse or friend felt important to them, got attention, affection, support or else felt they were neglected, I hear “neglected.” Oops – they made everything but those important folks a priority, starving them into looking elsewhere for emotional sustenance.
Every day should be “Appreciation Day” for those who matter in your life. No “I’m tired,” or “I was irritated,” or any other self-serving excuse.
If you want happiness in your life: plant it, water it, prune it, and love it.