Steps to Management Success – Step 53: Treat Your A-List Like Stars

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 1st, 2010

STEP FIFTY-THREE

Treat Your A-List Like Stars

A business that goes the extra mile earns the respect, loyalty, and referrals of its customers. We’ve already established the primary importance of treating all of your customers well. Great service makes great business sense. That said, some of your customers—perhaps 10 to 20 percent of them—are your best customers. And it’s smart business to do what you can to treat them even better.

WHAT IT MEANS: Your relationship with your best customers could appropriately be viewed as a courtship. You want to show how much you love them in the hope that they will continue to love you right back. This is not so much a science as an art—the art of creating extraordinary impressions. What can you do to cultivate “Wow” and delight? Something that makes them exclaim, “Wow, no other business has ever done that for me!” It’s a challenge to be sure—but if you solve it, you’ve gained one of the most precious assets any business can have: a lifelong, loyal, and 100 percent delighted customer (and perhaps even a few more through word-of-mouth referrals).

ACTION PLAN: First, establish the criterion for determining who your best customers are. Is it frequency of purchase or purchase volume or some combination thereof? Then, do what you can to get closer. If you’re a storeowner, greet them by name when they visit your store. Find out what they like, so you can alert them to new items or special sales that may be of interest. Then, brainstorm a variety of ways in which you can go the extra mile for them. Perhaps a special customer appreciation/sales event for VIP customers only. The rule of thumb is to carefully consider what your best customers expect—and then do what you can to exceed it.

EVEN BETTER: Not everything you do for a top customer should be sales related. People appreciate being appreciated even when they don’t buy something—and this is one relationship that you want to be as long-term as possible. Also, mix it up. Even the most delightful surprise—leaving a gift fruit basket or a mint on the pillow—becomes tired and trite after it’s been done a few times. There should never be anything routine about wowing your best customers.

(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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