Our current economy dictates that small businesses and entrepreneurs especially do whatever they can to attract new clients and customers, and retain them as well.
Mary Kay Ash, one of the greatest Entrepreneurs of our 20th century often said, "It costs five times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep an established one." Would you not agree that it just makes more sense to adopt this attitude?
You probably can immediately think of many methods to implement to retain existing customers and clients but there are three sure-fire ways to do so:
Too simplistic, perhaps? Redundant? Customer dissatisfaction results when existing customers/clients feel that there is very little personal interest and that businesses see only the $Sign. Again I quote Mary Kay Ash who said that we should view every person as wearing an invisible sign that says, "Make me Feel Important."
A personal experience adds credence to this fact: I'd been a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant for a short time when I received a call from a lady who asked if I had certain products available. She was quite aggravated as her Consultant had left on vacation without filling her order and she needed products right away. I took care of her and explained that while I appreciated her business I would not add her to my mailing list nor call her because she already had a Consultant. I did, however, send her a "Thank You" postcard as I usually do following a sale. A few days later she contacted me and told me that her husband, a business owner, and herself were so impressed by the "Thank You" card that she wanted to do business with me because I demonstrated such professionalism. I explained our Golden Rule policy, however, she pointed out that since it was her money she had a right to decide that she would spend it with someone who gave her personal service. I could not argue with that! She has been a loyal customer who's spent hundreds of dollars with me every year for the past eight years!
Would you say following-up is easy? Perhaps not, but it is definitely worth it!
My recommendations are nothing new, but I hope they will serve to remind us that as small business owners, home based business providers, entrepreneurs, whatever designation we give ourselves, now that many of our clients and customers are spending less, or just hesitating to spend, we will NEED to among other things:
* Demonstrate more than the usual excellent Customer Service
* Take care of the customer's needs promptly
* Make sure to follow-up after the sale or service to insure that customers are satisfied.
Happy customers who know that we care build trust and will keep doing business with us even when the buzz word is "recession." They will also be more willing to refer their friends and family to us.