Repeat Business is like Compound Interest
Implementing a VALUE-ADDED CUSTOMER SERVICE PLAN.
Repeat Business is like Compounding Interest and the key to keep them coming back is to ensure your customers feel special, valued and part of your business.
Your four client types are: external customers, suppliers/associates, staff and yourself. In an online business you will never see your external customers while your staff may come into your home office to work. Your suppliers/associates are the group of people you may have more face to face contact with than anyone else. Including yourself as a customer may seem unusual to people, but all of these categories of people in your business are important, so to its imperative to include them as an important part of ‘nurturing’ in your business and cater for them.
With today’s technology and choices it’s still important to your business your customers return to you. Retaining your existing clients is much more cost effective than constantly marketing for new ones. Statistics reveal external customers want 24-hour service, 7 days a week (24/7). You can offer that with your home-based business if it’s Internet based. However you still need to ensure your on-line customers are feeling special, valued and part of your business. Nurturing them ensures they’ll come back to you. It's drip-feeding them back to your door and it’s a
To do this you need to implement a Value-Added Customer Service plan. Online ‘warm fuzzies’ and servicing has taken on a new meaning with the upsurge in email usage over the last ten years. Microsoft is even coming on board to deliver a Customer Relationship Management programme later this year.
When providing a value-added customer service to your clients, you need to ensure it's something they value. You can combine a survey asking for feedback on how your business is servicing them, and include questions to discover what additional services they might value as well as what would make them feel valued as one of your customers. Send a sincere letter that tells them why you are asking the questions you’d like addressed. Pick questions that will provide you with answers and that you can improve on.
When adding a ‘value-added service to your business, you need to ensure you’ve still got the basics right in your business. This was a win/lose service and it’s turning me away! On each bank tellers desk I read "Today our staff will be asking about your insurance needs". Ten minutes passed as I stood in the queue. Unable to visit the bank again for a few days, I had to stay. Finally, I was served and asked the question, to which my answer was “I'm satisfied thanks.” They won! I'd wasted 15 minutes, my time was precious...on one hand they offer a 24/7
service with online and telephone banking and then they blow it with face to face contact. They need a fast service lane for business people, open at ALL times.
You may need a different approach for each of your customer types and it’s best to keep it simple so that is easy to implement it. Anything too complicated gets thrown into the ‘too hard basket.’
Constructing a value added customer service plan means having contact with each of these customer groups on a regular basis. It’s soft marketing and keeping your name in front of your clients. This ensures they remember you when it becomes time to purchase and also because of your regular ‘nurturing’ contact a business relationship has been established.
To ensure your making your customers feel valued, each two months ensure you’ve something planned to make each group feel valued & special. Eg. Surprise them with a morning tea, hold a free seminar, send them a valuable tip, recommend a workshop or because of increased stress and lack of time, vouchers for restaurants are becomingly increasingly valued.
Providing pampering type rewards for your clients could be a great reward idea to use in your business. In the Herman Trend Alert on 3rd July, 2002, it reveals a growing trend in the United States. Because people are stressed and want to be pampered, spa visits have increased almost 60% in the last 5 years. 95 million visits are made to American spas annually, generating $5 billion in revenue. (more than ski resorts at $3.1 billion). This is a trend that we're following in New Zealand, so keep this in mind.
Jim Cecil from the US suggests that businesses plan at least nine ‘relationship touches’ over a period of two years to ensure the fundamentals of relationship management are covered. One of them could be an online newsletter or ezine included in your marketing programme.
These need to be short and conversational and I also suggest that they target all four personality groups. Your customers may be different personality groups from you therefore the language you use, must be effective for them. Eg. Facts and figures are great if you’re targeting other people that the information is relevant to, like other research companies, however if the research companies are contacting their clients who maybe doctors, advertisers, a lists of facts and figures are not important to these people. Words that appeal to these target markets must be used in the dialogue.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, is a worldwide bestselling book and a classic example of this. The book is written in layman's language, even though it is a technical and analytical message. To accountants and real estate people this book would appear very simplistic but to the rest of the population the message can be understood and therefore implemented. That’s part of the reason why it’s a best seller, it can be understood!
On-line newsletters need to be short and chatty, maybe a quote, a statistic, a story and provoke some thinking as well as a few tips. It’s not hard sell; it’s more about keeping your relationship in good shape.
Implementing a value added customer service plan needs to be simple yet effective. It also needs to be part of your marketing plan and something that is followed up on because Repeat business is like Compounding Interest!
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