How To Manage Your Customers
So you have identified your customers and now you want to be sure that the relationship is as effective and efficient as it can possibly be.
Successful businesses are good at maintaining a healthy and rewarding relationship with their customers but carefully and skilfully put some boundaries upon the link. This is built around building, and continuing to build, a solid and reliable reputation that customers recognise and value.
The following pointers are proven to work and to deliver a reputation that is valued but which also can be effectively managed by you the provider of that good or service.
- Be Honest From The Very Start. Set out a tantalising Offer to the customer (or to the vast number of customers out there waiting to hear about your unique good or service) but NEVER make outlandish claims that you cannot deliver, just to raise awareness. Such pathways lead to no orders and a quick-step dance to oblivion. New customers are taking a leap of faith in buying from you and not from a current source that they are probably not that unhappy with. Advertise? Yes. Make sound claims? Yes. Add additional stuff that sparkles but which you cannot deliver? No.
- Under Promise, Over-Deliver. Be sure that you can beat with ease the claims that you make for your good or service. Nothing impresses a customer more than performance that is better than that which is initially claimed. The Automobile Association aim to be with a stranded motorist within 60 minutes but regularly beat this arriving in a much quicker time. The result? Delighted customers who tell everyone how good the service is. The trick is in making sure that their staff can get to you before that time – not something they would want to advertise though! An excellent yet simple adage.
- Know What Your Customer Wants Before They Know It! Over time, once you get to have good knowledge of the market and how it moves and develops you will be able to refine your offer to make it more appealing and possibly to bring in new customers. Alongside this if you can anticipate that the customer is in urgent need of the product keeping them informed that they are a top priority and that you are working especially hard to meet their deadlines will add extra weight to the relationship.
- Keep In Touch. This does not mean turning into some kind of obsessive stalker but just making sure that your customer knows that they are valuable and that they can get quick and easy access to you to clarify points and ask further questions. Being open and available puts the customer’s mind at rest at key points in the process.
- Update the customer. A neat trick is to provide the customer with an update on what has been done in a particular time period, say each week. Whilst time-consuming it makes the customer see that they are important and can be done quickly with a brief but detailed email on progress so far. It also shows them what they are paying for too – always a nice touch!
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