Even great businesses lose 10% of their customers annually. Keeping customers is hard work but without them you don’t have a business. Great businesses go out of their way for their customers.
There are lots of ways to love your customers, through social media and plain old networking events. Consider holding a networking event at your business and using social media to publicize the event.
The Internet and social media is all about being shameless. If you want to be noticed you will have to be “out there.” So here’s the question, is bad publicity better than no publicity? Remember on the Internet it’s important to guard your reputation and still get known. One way to guard your reputation is to ask your fans to comment on your blog posts or on your web site. In other words, stack the deck in your favor.
Have you ever invited your “great customers” to your business or to your house? Of course years ago this was a no-no. The theory, don’t combine business with your personal life. If you haven’t noticed, things have changed;we’ve entered into the “age of transparency.”
I think shop-at-home businesses miss an opportunity if they don’t invite customers to their homes. After all, they invited you to their home didn’t they ? What a great way to say thank you.
In order to build your business you have to stay in touch. My friend Peter White, is owner of “Portobella Pete’s” a small convenience store in Building 12 at the New York State Department of Labor. Each year he holds a musical performance for his customers outside his store. The performance is offered by Local 14 AFM and is part of their month long series entitled “Jazz Appreciation Month.” It costs Peter but allows him to thank his customers and advocate something that’s important to him, music in the public schools. Does it take time to organize this event, I’m sure it does but what a great gift to Peter’s customers.
As in life/business, some people will like you and others won’t. Forget the ones who don’t and concentrate on the ones that do–they’re called loyal customers. They like you because of who you are and all your unique quirks.
I recently spoke at an event at EF Marlburger in Fishers, Indiana called “Girl Talk.” It combined good food and fun things to buy as well as a CEU class for interior designers offered through the Carpet and Rug Institute. Karla Shone, A.S.I.D.showroom manager at Marlburgers spent weeks organizing the event but it was well worth it. Her customers loved it.
This week Tim Look owner of Lifestyles Flooring in Dawson, Michigan will be speaking at the Chamber of Commerce and giving away Fabulous Floors Magazines. He said he thought it would be a great way to give his customers new ideas for their floors. Tim also runs “the worst looking shag contest.” The contest is very clever and lots of fun and gets Tim known as a “70’s buff.”
Fun is good.
You’ve probably heard about Neiman Marcus’s 100 year celebration in 2007. They gave away their signature chocolate chip cookies and the recipe. Nice touch.
Want to go out of your way for your customers? Make it fun, different and valuable.
Lisbeth Calandrino is an award winning author, activist , entrepreneur, and blogger. She is author of the book, Red Hot Customer Service, 35 ways to heat up your business and ignite your sales. Lisbeth can provide customer service and sales training using the principles of her book at your place of business or through video conferences.