Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Your customer is king

     Free daily tips, info, advice and ideas for small business
     from my personal experience--been there, done that.

     Much has been said about customers--how to get them, how to make them happy, how to keep them coming back. 

     It bears repeating. Your customer is king.

     Example: Early in my first business (graphic arts/printing), I received a call from a customer on Easter Sunday morning. (Yes, I gave out my personal phone number to customers.) He had a problem--a board meeting had been called suddenly for the next morning. He needed a booklet--designed, printed and delivered overnight. I did not hesitate--yes, we could do the job. A very hectic 24 hours followed, but the booklets were delivered to his boardroom before 7 a.m. the next morning to a happy customer. Later that week, I hand-delivered the invoice and he approved it immediately. Further, he had the payment check cut while we sat discussing another job he had in mind. Our relationship continued for many years. 

     Customers have problems of their own. Your business is best served when you solve their problems, on their terms, in their time frame.

     Example: An attorney was engaged by a lady to draw up her will. She had some unusual requests, and the attorney listened patiently. But instead of leading the client through the problems, the attorney saw an opportunity to draw out the situation and increase the fees. He suggested a series of meetings to sort through all the details. This might have helped his cash flow, but the client saw it as annoying. She also suspected his true intentions. He lost a client that day--not only for the will, but for some large property transfers she subsequently made. 

     Customers are not dummies. They come to you with a problem which they expect you to solve--whether it's to buy a dozen cookies or make that neck pain go away. They don't come to you to be manipulated.

     Successful business people keep focused on the customer--not your own problems. Give them what they want and that will solve your problems.

     You'll find many examples throughout these write-ups showing how to find and keep your clients/customers. It ain't rocket science, even with today's galloping technology. It's common sense and person to person relationships. Keep the focus. 

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