I was trying to hide but you found me!

A customer is a customer , or at least that’s how some business folk see it.  The more savvy business owners know that musing and fussing over a few lost customers is pointless and an utter waste of time, since they have elevated their game to such a level that they are able to replace a lost customer with at least two or three more.

This manner of thinking is actually driven by the prevailing thought in most businesses that run mostly on sales and marketing:  meeting the quota.  To meet the quota, people often shut everything else out of their concentration, and hone their focus primarily on getting as many customers as possible.  Everything else is just a distraction or a waste of time and effort.

The more astute and forward-thinking business people, however, have a markedly different view on this.  These people know the distinct advantages of putting more emphasis on quality over quantity, of giving priority to winning the customers that may be classified as “important” over the rest of the crowd, and making sure that one is able to retain them.

Let me clarify first what an “important” customer is.  Technically speaking, all customers are important, since they are the lifeblood of any customer-dependent business, although there are certain customers that set themselves apart from others.  These “important” customers are those who prove to be of more value to salespeople and business due to the fact that they are not simply the one-and-done type of customers, purchasing or subscribing once and then moving onto other brands.  Rather, these “important” customers are those who patronize a business or a brand repeatedly, buying into most, if not all promotions, and generally preferring a particular brand over others, even going so far as to promote and endorse the brand themselves, by way of truthful testimonials or sharing of their experience with the brand.  This is why brands and businesses stand to significantly benefit from these types of customers, it really is just the type of marketing that no amount of money can buy.

Now, seeing as how a business does benefit a lot from these types of customers, it stands to reason that winning as many of them as possible is a good way to go.  How do go go about this then?

Identify customer habits

Not all customers are created equal.  This is a fact that more businesses should really look into, so as to discern which customers are the “important” ones.  You can do this by taking note of their buying habits, reception of promotions and advertisements, and how they interact with the marketing initiatives of the brand.  Once specific habits have been identified, it is then much easier to see which customers do deserve a little bit more of your time and effort.  Test what makes them more receptive to your brand, and capitalize on these, tailoring your efforts along the same lines.

Proper communication

Once the “important customers have been identified, it is now time to establish a healthy line of communication.  Note that I said “healthy”, because communication with a customer is so much more than just you hurling all of your marketing might at them.  Learn to listen to what they are saying.  In many cases, a lot of brands have actually been made better because of the suggestions from the customers themselves.  Listen to what they are saying, and do your best to respond to them, to show that you do listen to them and you value what they have to say.

Show the value

Customers respond better when they feel that they are given the deserved attention and value.  It really isn’t all that hard to do this.  Give them a sense of exclusivity by emailing them promotions that are decidedly aimed at “preferred customers”, or inform them of upcoming offers with the additional mention that they are among the first to receive such a notice.  If possible, do a promotion that is offered only to a select few, and be sure to inform them that they are among these “circle of few”.  Many brands also practice a more personalized approach with their customers, sending them personalized greetings on specific occasions including birthdays, anniversaries, and such.

Encourage feedback

An engaged customer is always the better customer, and the best way to ensure a customer is engaged is to ask what they think of you or your brand.  Encourage them to speak their mind as to how your brand could be made better for them.  Once they do, be sure to respond to these comments or suggestions and thank them for spending a little bit of their time to speak their mind.  Remember that the most essential and important suggestions come from the end-users or customers themselves, since they speak from a first hand perspective.

A little thanks goes a long way

I remember a major brand that my father really liked, and he was using it from when I was still a kid and I remember him still using it when I had already reached adulthood.  I asked him if the brand was really that good, and he said the truth of it was it was pretty much like every other product of the same nature, but what he really liked about the brand was that it never failed to thank him for being a loyal customer, always sending him a little something to show their appreciation.  Always remember to thank customers for staying with you, but give the more loyal customers a bit more in the way of attention and gratitude, as this is the best way to retention.

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