Steps to Management Success – Step 37: Pamper Your Customers

Written By Rick Frishman Published March 31st, 2010

STEP THIRTY-SEVEN

Pamper Your Customers

Why do you suppose all evidence proves that it costs at least five times as much to sell to a new customer as to an existing customer? That’s easy. Because the price is high to find a new customer, while finding an existing customer is free. It’s far less expensive to retain customers—by delighting and pampering them—than it is to acquire new ones, yet most companies blatantly continue to ignore this clear and compelling rule.

WHAT IT MEANS: Pamper your existing customers. It will set you apart from 95 percent of your competition. It will help you compete on a basis other than price. It will generate repeat business. And, as word of mouth is well known to be the most effective form of advertising, it will generate a steady stream of new customers through glowing referrals. In his book Guerilla Marketing Weapons: 100 Affordable Marketing Methods for Maximizing Profits from Your Small Business, marketing guru Jay Conrad Levinson says, “There are few if any other marketing weapons with the power, cost-effectiveness, and economy of satisfied customers.”

ACTION PLAN: Customer pampering is anything you can do that can make your customers feel recognized, appreciated, and special. It’s going the extra mile. It’s adding a little bit (or even more than a little bit) of “Wow” to the way you do business—coffee service in the reception area . . . dropping off papers or delivering an order in person so the customer doesn’t have to pick it up . . . or writing a note or e-mail just to say “thanks for being our customer.”

EVEN BETTER: Develop loyalty programs designed to increase overall satisfaction, encourage repeat business, and delight your best customers. You can focus on rewarding customers who have repeat purchases, such as discounts for frequent purchases, special “loyal customer only” sales, or gifts to frequent buyers. However, it is important to realize that not all freebies will work with all customers—a free T-shirt may work for one business but be perceived as “too tacky” by customers of another business—so consider this matter carefully. Surveys, focus groups, and direct discussions with customers can be helpful in this area.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)


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