Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Replacing customers

     Free daily tips, info, advice, ideas with business examples
     from personal experiences--been there, done that.

     Sooner or later, you will lose every customer or client you have. 

     They move away. They grow older. They seek out a competitor. They no longer need your product or service. Their brother-in-law opens a similar business.

     So it goes.

     Example: Greta runs a yoga studio offering private and group sessions. When she lost one of her private session clients, she was prepared. The long time client one day announced that she was retiring from her corporate office job and moving away to another state. This would be her last session, she told Greta one evening. Greta hated to lose a client, especially one who had become a business friend. She took immediate action. She emailed the private time slot opening to all her group session clients and posted it to Facebook. The slot was quickly filled--because she had already decided how she would react when a private client dropped out.

     Think ahead. Have a plan in mind to deal with replacing clients. 

     Example: Carl is an interior decorator. He concentrates on corporate clients, small businesses, professional offices, along with some residential clients. One well-heeled matron was difficult to deal with, complaining loudly to Carl in front of others about a job in progress. The job he was doing for her required everything to be special-ordered on schedules out of Carl's control. But she was accustomed to having her way and disregarded all his explanations. She even complained about the timing of the project on social media sites. Carl took action--he refunded the matron's deposit and referred her to one of his competitors. 

     Now and then, your relationship with a client cannot be salvaged--no matter how hard you might try. The best solution sometimes is to resign the account. And move on.

     Example: Meg runs a gymnastics operation for children--up to about age 12. She attracts new attendees by holding open houses and promoting on social media. But children grow up, and Meg loses them. She decided to expand into dramatic arts, especially for budding teens interested in a career in theater. She found a compatible business partner who was teaching dramatic arts but had no studio. Together, Meg and her new partner now offer programs for young people age 6 to 18 and beyond. The new operation attracts even more attention to the gymnastics side of the house, and many of these get exposed to a career they might not have otherwise considered. In the face of losing kids after age 12, Meg found a way to expand. 

     The time to replace clients and customers is when you first get them. Sooner or later, plan on losing every one of them. Get ready.

     All examples in these write-ups are drawn from real business situations. The names are always changed. The intent here is to describe what others have done in their businesses, so that you might face and overcome problems of operating your own. 

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