Turn a Good Customer into a Great Customer in 5 Simple Steps!

Beth Caldwell

One way that you can make 2009 a great year is to drop those customers who drain you of time energy and money. Instead spend 80% of your time focusing on those customers who are loyal to you, happy with you and easy to work with. You will find that you enjoy working more when you are working with people you like and who also like working with you. Here are some tips to creating customer loyalty:

  1. Use technology to remember the likes and dislikes of your clients. Depending on the type of business you own, your client may like styles, colors, times of days, etc. If you are in the service industry, use technology to note information about your client so that you can show genuine interest in their family and business. Example: Hi John, I was just thinking of you the other day when I saw a soccer game, I remembered that your son plays soccer. How is he? (always be genuine)

  2. Under promise and over deliver. If you think you can get a delivery or a project done by the end of the week, promise to have it done by the end of next week. This allows for any unplanned interruptions or challenges, and if you do get the project done and delivered early, the client will be very pleased. This also will decrease your personal stress, because if you do have a delay and have promised something, you may find yourself working late into the evening and missing time with your family because you need to honor your commitment.

  3. Keep your clients informed. Stay in touch either quarterly or monthly with your regular clients and even your potential and past clients. Keep them informed about trends in your industry, news in your office and tips that will generally help them. This also helps you build a relationship with your clients that you don?t see face to face. Remember that people do business with those they know and like.

  4. Thank your clients. I have had my car and homeowners insurance with the same company for over 15 years. I have paid them nearly $20,000 in premiums and have never once received a thank you card, a holiday card, or even a newsletter. When a friend of mine opened her own insurance firm, I switched without a second thought. I didn?t mind paying a little more because this was a person I had a relationship with. Don?t let this happen to you. Thank you is a powerful phrase. I appreciate your business, its an honor to work with you, these phrases mean a lot. You don?t necessarily have to be formal about it, saying it with a firm handshake is just fine. I also think it?s a fun idea to send a "thank you for your business" card or small gift at an unusual time, like March or August?everyone else does this in November and December.

  5. Combat the "reward systems" that so many businesses now offer. Surprise your best customers with a gift certificate in your off season, or a useful premium gift with your logo. Write a note saying "you?ve earned our appreciation".
Beth Caldwell is the author of I Wish I?d Known That! Secrets to Success in Business, to be released in early February. Beth owns her own public relations firm in Greentree, PA where she specializes in working with small business owners and entrepreneurs. She is the Executive Director of Pittsburgh Professional Women, an organization in Western Pennsylvania that supports professional business women with practical and affordable workshops that help keep business owners up to date with the latest tools, techniques and strategies to find success in their fields. Workshops are held four times each year. For more information, visit www.PittsburghProfessionalWomen.com.