Customer Retention with a Personal Touch
by: Tony Valle
Personal contact with customers is a crucial element in the success of any new business – and it’s one of the most common casualties of growth. As a company grows, the president tends to fade away into his or her office. That can lead to loss of leverage right at the point when a company is starting to take off and needs it most.
The danger is that the company can become just another faceless entity that the customer deals with every day. This danger increases in this era of reliance on computers to handle communications with customers. Think about instituting a policy of sending a personal thank-you note to each customer. It’s not that difficult to do if you stick with it. Just sit down one evening per week and work through your list of customer contacts from the previous week.
Savvy companies will track customer contacts in their contact-management databases, but you can get away with keeping a simple Excel spreadsheet of all thank-you cards sent. Trust me, your customers will not forget it!
To really kick the personal touch into gear, spend one day per month doing nothing but making “courtesy” calls to your existing customers. Don’t have any plans to do real business – just call to say hello. Your clients will be pleased and astounded that you took the time just to check in. To ready your mind to play the role of friend rather than business associate, make the calls from home that day.
Really any little thing that you can do to make your customers feel that you remember them and care about them is priceless. I have a particular customer that mentioned to me one day that she was a tremendous Ray Charles fan. Months later when Ray passed away, I sent her a little note of condolence. I don’t think she will ever forget that gesture. She later told me that I was the only one who mentioned anything to her that day. She had been feeling like nobody knew or cared until she received my note.
What opportunities to make personal contact with clients are you missing each day? Sure, it’s easy to use convenient excuses like “I just don’t have the time,” or “I’ll get to it next week.” Just remember how much more difficult and time-consuming it is to find a new client rather than to keep a current one.
In the end, taking time to keep in contact with your customers will pay a lifetime of dividends both personally and professionally.
About The Author
Tony Valle is founder of Promethius Consulting, LLC, a unique web design and marketing firm. Learn more at http://www.promethius.com.
This article was posted on January 21, 2005