Long Distance Customers

fragile.jpg Anyone who has moved away from friends knows it takes a lot of work to keep up friendships over long distances.  The same is true for our existing customers.  We are often so busy looking to get new customers, we forget to tell our current customers how much they mean to us.

Oh, we do communicate with them.  We send them mail about complimentary products and services.  We send them invoices and receipts.  But we don’t often send them a note letting them know we are glad they are our customers.

Here’s an example.  We bought our house in San Diego last year and were represented by realtors who were friends of the family (we didn’t know anyone in San Diego, and they are truly great people!).  The transaction went smoothly, and we had a great big Thank You present from these realtors just after we moved in.  We even invited them to our housewarming party last year, and they came.

We haven’t heard from them since.  We are now long distance customers.

I’ll tell you who we have heard from: the realtor that represented the sellers of our house.  Not long after we moved in, he stopped by in person and introduced himself, letting us know we could call him if we needed anything.  He has stopped by at least once/quarter since then to inform us of neighborhood selling activity and see how we are doing.  He came by again today to chat and tell me that the house around the corner (which he is representing) is now in escrow and at a price which is good for us.

We are not yet his customers.  However, when we decide to move (sometime in the future), his name will come quickly to mind, as he has taken the time to start a relationship with us.

It is in a company’s best interests to keep up the relationship with its existing customers.  Yes, this takes time.  Yes, it costs a little bit of money.  We may even argue about whose job it is to do this: marketing, customer service or sales.

But if we treat our customers like long distance customers, we may find that someone else has stepped in to take our place.  And if it is a valuable customer, you can be sure that someone else has already stepped in.

Reach out and touch a customer – today!
(Photo: andresr)

8 Responses

  1. Great advice Becky. In fact, I think we should spend 90 percent of our time taking care of our customers and 10 percent or less attaining new customers. Our bottom and top lines would grow more quickly and our expenses would decline. Most important, it is the right thing to do for our customers.

  2. Thanks, Lewis – I agree! I think part of the reason this isn’t done is this is not how most organizations are measured. When we start incenting employees on customer retention, in addition to customer acquisition, we will start to see behaviors change – as well as budget allocations.

    It is the right thing to do for our customers and our business.

  3. oh this is a good post! what a great reminder to take care of your potential clients as well as your current clients. As an artist I haven’t done enough of this – but I’m working on it right now, so this post is a good shove to remember *why* I’m working on it.

  4. Pingback : Todd Earwood » Blog Archive » Customer Love is Cheap

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