You are a busy, busy small business owner and entrepreneur. You are planning your next big venture, ordering new computers, hiring a new assistant…and not paying attention to the one area you should focus most of your attention on-your existing customers. With the wealth of choices they have of other service providers, contractors or retail outlets, they don’t have to put up with much for long. What are the fastiest and easiest ways to lose them?
- Make it hard to find you. Don’t put up a Web site, don’t make sure your contact information is easily found if you do. Don’t invest in one of those phone numbers that is 555-BOBS. Don’t leave behind one of those magnetic business cards for their fridge.
- Don’t respond to them. Don’t return their phone calls or emails immediately. Do defer it to someone else when they’ve asked for you specifically. Wait a few days and tell yourself you are busy and you will get to it when you can.
- Forget about them unless you need their business. Don’t check in to see how they are doing, if their last service call was satisfactory, how their new computer is working out. Don’t remember their birthday or that it is their son’s graduation this weekend.
- Don’t be fair. Don’t ask them what would make them feel better about their transaction and then don’t do it immediately. Don’t keep your word.
- Don’t ask them what they want and need. Don’t involve them in helping you decide what future service or product offerings you should roll out. Don’t find inquire if your marketing is annoying. Don’t give them any free information. Assume you know what is best for them.
Customer loyalty takes years to develop and pays off in big dividends. Do the right thing. Invest in your customers. Market to them in a way they prefer and treat them fairly and with respect and you won’t have to try to replace them down the road.
by Steven Schlagel