Effective communication is the cornerstone of ANY relationship, whether it’s personal or professional. That means effective communication with your customers is paramount if you want your business to be successful. You need to build relationships with your customers, not just focus on one-offs. But in order to have that relationship, you have to be providing them with something that is valuable for them, and in the long run profitable for you.
The way you do this is fairly straightforward.
First of all you need to know the value of each of your customers or clients. Think of it a bit like ER triage. You need to determine the value of each customer to your company in order to prioritize your marketing and communications with them.
This allows you to roll out the red carpet for the customers that provide the most profitable long-term value, and cut loose the customers that provide you with little to no profitability in the long-term, OR are such a drain on your time and energy that their monetary value is no longer worthwhile.
Generally your customers will fall into one of three categories. High value, medium value, or low value.
Your high value customers will most likely be your repeat clients, and will generate the most revenue for you. These will be the customers you want to keep in contact with on a regular basis, and provide them extra value in ways they may not expect in order to KEEP them as lifetime customers. Medium value customers will often be those with high potential to move up into the high value category. They are currently a very profitable customer, and with proper care and maintenance could very well turn into the lifetime customer you want.
Low value customers will of course offer very little in the way of profitability to your company. These are the clients you want to automate your communications with as much as possible, and lower your costs of doing business with them until either they become a profitable customer, or take their business elsewhere. The next thing you need to do is properly identify them. If you are capturing contact information manually by people who walk through your door, or are capturing their information automatically by a lead capture system on your website, you need to do regular maintenance to make sure your info is current and up to date, and that all names are spelled correctly. This is especially important because many customers will feel that if you can’t even take the time to get their name right, what value could you possibly provide THEM.
The other thing you need to do is ‘know your customer’. Understand their wants and needs, and as I’ve said before… give it to them! And this applies to communication as well, because the better you know your customer the better your communications with them will be. It takes knowledge to communicate via the proper channels, and to communicate the proper message, and if you don’t take the time to learn it, your customers won’t be interested in hearing a word you have to say, no matter HOW you want to say it.
And finally, give your customers a way to provide you with feedback. It’s not just about YOU communicating with your customer, it’s about your customer being able to communicate with YOU. It’s a two way street, and the best businesses implement effective strategies for both parties to communicate with each other. Good customer service and feedback go hand in hand, and if your customers can’t easily give you that, you can be certain your customer service will suffer. And guess what? That means your business will suffer as well. Just sayin’.
To your success!