Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Customer relations

     Free daily tips, information, advice and ideas
     to help you better manage your small business. 

     Customers are a gold mine. Mining your customer relations can bring them back again and again. As a plus, they will refer others to you.

     Example: Gina operates a women's clothing and accessories business. She sells to walk-ins and through her website. She attracts customers through regular posts on social media. Every time a customer spends more than $100, Gina sends a personal thank you. When someone spends more than $500, she sends a gift certificate.

     Example: Ed runs a garden center. During the spring and summer, Ed regularly hosts an event, free and open to the public, showing people how to lay pavers and bricks, how to build walls and fences, etc. He brings in representatives from suppliers--they are glad to contribute their time. These events have built Ed's reputation and expanded his customer base far beyond its previous reach. Even local landscapers and contractors attend the sessions and refer others.

     Example: Eve is an accountant. She sees many of her clients only once each year--at tax time. She regularly spends time with each client, showing them how to simplify their bookkeeping and be aware of the tax implications of what they are doing in their businesses throughout the year. This has solidified Eve's relationship with clients, expanded the amount of work she does with them, and attracted more clients. 

     Example: Frank is a caterer. He helps each client make the most of their affair by showing them how to take it to the next level. This sometimes means suggesting a black tie affair or setting up a big tent with a dance floor and band to create spectacular gatherings. Frank's operation has moved from handling backyard events to managing large affairs for corporate clients.

     The idea is to create good customer relations with your clients. Educate them. Show them how you can do more. Make sure they understand the complete range of your services and products. 

     Offering free information is basic to developing good customer relations. Your clients expect you to be there for them and this includes the free flow of information between you and them. It costs you only your time.  But it can turn a single sale into a customer who returns again and again, refers others to you, and sings your praises on social media. 

     Every customer represents more than is first apparent. Dig deeper. Get to know every one of them. Expanding a conversation beyond the subject at hand will pay off in the future.