Your relationship with your customers is the key to everything you do in your business. It determines the growth, development and ongoing health of your company, whether you are a large corporation, or a small, closely-held start up. I like to call it, “Customer Love.”
What really is Customer Love? It is the consciousness of being 100% customer-committed and customer-focused … every day, every interaction. There simply is no reason that you should not be officially and undeniably dedicated to the success and well being of your customers.
Sometimes, people can get in the way of their own good judgment, and they might think their customers are a pain in the neck, or that they are too demanding. Or, they get aggravated by last minute requests from their customers. Some people fail to appreciate how important it is to love their customers, and to realize that they would not have a job without them. As a young Sales Manager, the VP of Sales gave me a piece of advice which I practice to this day. He said, “Never, ever make your customer work hard to be your customer.”
So, call your customers, rather than emailing them. Make an appointment to sit down with your customers and ask them to help you by offering their thoughts on what else you can do for them. Ask them about their goals for the coming quarter, or season, or next year…and what’s on the drawing board, and how their planning could alter the services or products you presently provide for them. Tell your customers you are interested in their company’s history and its beginnings, and that you are proud to be a part of their ongoing development. If you haven’t already done it, request a tour of their facilities to better understand their product or process. Ask about any proposed changes in their operations that could possibly require your company to make adjustments in scheduling and manpower.
Let your customers know you appreciate and respect the opportunity and the privilege to have their business. Make a pledge to yourself to prove your loyalty to them, daily.
Is there more to Customer Love than that? Of course there is; yet, it is especially important to note that it suggests an attitude that every employee should have as they walk through the door each work day. It must be a 24/7/365 awareness.
If you are in a leadership position in your company, put a program in place to train everyone who is affiliated with your organization to be on board with this thinking, including investors, partners, shareholders, directors and all new hires.
If you are a one-man shop, or a two-woman show…make it your style, your motto, your mantra: “Customer Love.” Get to know your customers and nurture those relationships.
Make it easy for your customer to be your customer.
Douglas Crotty is a business consultant and freelance writer in Gainesville, FL. He has had an extensive career in business management, sales & marketing and organizational leadership.
Doug’s passions are developing customer/vendor relationships, strengthening organizational continuity, and helping businesses grow. His column pieces and articles have appeared in numerous business publications, community magazines, social media websites and blogs. He can be reached at 352-331-8849 (O), 352-213-2555 (C), or firstname.lastname@example.org.