Building and Maintaining “Forever Customer” Relationships
The truth is, “You will always be remembered.” But, the question is, “How will you be remembered?” As a business owner and service/product provider, I recommend the following principles to establish good customers because of your good reputations:
Focus on being relevant, but realistic, in your offerings. Just because your customer does not want to go with the latest and greatest trend, don’t let that discourage the opportunity. I recommend that you try to be equally excited about their ideas and merge them with your expertise. That is true customer service.
Humility is free; pass it along. You may be the only show in town, but that does not mean you have to act like it. Yes, it’s important to let new customers know that you have a list of strengths that separate you from the rest. But don’t play that card too early…it’s a turn off. Let your work speak for itself. Build your reputation organically from years of experience.
Take the small jobs too. It is a proven fact that doing the same thing over and over again is the best way to learn, which equates to better results in your audio visual product selections, installation methods and customer service skills. The small jobs are an excellent place to perfect your trade. These customers usually are open to more creativity too, which makes them feel special. The correct perspective is to turn this “small customer” into a long lasting one and don’t be surprised if they turn into a large one in the future.
Show me the Money! Money does talk and it also reveals who we are. When you introduce yourself for the first time to a potential customer on the phone or in person, you are projecting your true self, whether you think so or not. Project a person who wants to help and be interested in their problem AV system or new project. Only going for the “big money” jobs will eventually reveal who you are and you will ultimately starve as the other companies will take all the small opportunities. Tony’s Tip: zoom out to the 20,000 foot view as this will help you keep things in perspective for your customers’ short and long term needs.
Stay in it for the long haul and show up! The economy goes up and the economy comes down, but people strive to stay in the middle. To do that you have to stay consistent and show up. This means when you get a customer service call during the slowest part of a season and your commission checks are slim, you still need to show up for those customer service calls as promptly as you would when your pockets were deep. People remember these things. Even on your worst days, you may have to put on a smile and show up for the silliest, most ridiculous service calls. This is how you earn “Forever Customers.”
Finally, let them GO! I have been doing this for a long time and in hindsight, I see this one principle in perfect 20/20 vision. If I do my best to present my offerings and the customer goes another direction, “let them go.” There is little value in fighting for something you can’t have, right? Well, the correct perspective is to remember that I can’t have it right now, but I will have it later… and just when I need it most. It means I will learn from that lost opportunity, but I will be much more prepared to receive it next time… and I will have it. Yes, with confidence we should strive to accept that we can’t always be on top of every opportunity every time, but we can better understand the customer’s needs for the next round with boldness. Remember, it’s all a numbers game anyway. So get out there and get after the next opportunity today!
Keeping it real,
Tony, the AV guy