Last week I had a frustrating phone call with our VOIP phone provider. It went something like this:
THEM: Is this Jim?
ME: Yes. How can I help you?
THEM: Jim, I’m calling from Vocalocity. We’re a voice over IP phone company that offers business class phone service with a full suite of yadayadayada. Are you the person in charge of making decisions about your company’s phone service?
ME: (long pause…..) Are you kidding me? We’re already a customer of yours! Is this how you guys are treating your clients now?
It went on from there, but I’ll let you use your imagination.
I could have let this roll off my back, I know. But I don’t feel like I’m just another customer to them. I mean, I’ve written several blogs in which I’ve praised their service! I tagged them in the posts I made on Twitter and LinkedIn so they could see I was giving them kudos. I’ve even referred people to them who I know have since become their clients.
Did I deserve being forgotten? I think not.
So it got me thinking? What should our staff be doing to make sure we don’t forget our own customers?
Get To Know Each Client Like A Friend
My closest friends know me better than I know myself. That’s because they genuinely care enough about me to find out what’s going on in my life. The same should go for your customers.
I’m not suggesting you take your client conversations to dating level. But doesn’t it make you feel good when a company you deal with remembers just one thing about you? Do the same for your clients. Take time to jot those takeaways down in your client management system for next time.
- Names or ages of children.
- Weekend hobbies.
- Favorite sports teams
- Vacation destinations
Keep In Touch On A Regular Basis
I have a friend in Germany I’ve known since college. For the first few years afterwards, we found time to meet up with our spouses in either Europe or the U.S. during our travels. As time went on and we had children, our regular communication died down to almost nothing.
Finally, a couple of years ago, we reconnected via email and the tension was almost palpable at first. No communication for that long among friends just didn’t feel right. Fortunately, our friendship was strong enough to help us put that aside and catch up as if it had only been yesterday.
That kind of radio silence will not end as well when it comes to your customers, though. One of my colleagues is famous for saying,
[Tweet “Customers will put up with a lot. But they won’t put up with neglect.”]
With email marketing, social media, blogs and even text messages, there’s zero excuse for neglecting customers. If you can’t take even one minute to check in with each client per year, you may as well just hand them over to your competition now, because you WILL lose them.
Sing Your Client’s Praises
As I mentioned earlier, I make a conscious effort to promote our company’s vendors who I think really deserve it. Why should it be any different with our own clients?
If you’re a B2B company, sites like Yelp, AngiesList and even Google Local make it way to easy to give your clients props online. If you sell to individuals, follow them on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn and show them some love every once in a while.
Ideas For Promoting Your Clients
- Offer a coupon to your client’s store in your next customer newsletter.
- Congratulate your customer on her recent marathon finish via your company’s Facebook page.
- Write blogs about your customer’s charitable actions and then share it through social media. Make sure you tag them in your posts!
- Conduct a video interview with your client about what makes their product or service special. Then post it on YouTube and spread it through social media.
We all know how to build friendships. But not all of us think of clients as friends. Until you adopt that mindset, you will never get close enough to them to build an unbreakable client relationship. Change the way you view your clients and you could start a revolution of caring that could take you farther than you’d ever imagined!
What methods work best for you in building unbreakable client relationships? Share your ideas in the comments section below.