Recently, I had the good fortune to sit down with some exceptional small business owners to discuss their businesses. Specifically, we chatted about the importance of what we called “relationship capital” – that is, how they fostered and maintained great relationships with customers so as to keep them coming back time and again.
Their ideas and strategies were as unique as their businesses. Whether it was creative uses of social media, quality products, exceptional service, or using videos to catch their eye, what I learned is that there is no one right answer; great entrepreneurs use many different ways to deepen their relationships.
The interviews were done as part of a series of videos I worked on with my pals at Bank of America, called Big Ideas for Small Business.
Watching the video got me to thinking about how to keep those interactions going, because, like all relationships, those with customers need to be nurtured if they are to be long-lasting. Here then are four ways to spring clean your relationships and make your customers fall in love with you all over again:
1. Give them some candy: One reason that relationships get stale is that sometimes, one party begins to take the other for granted. This is as true for interactions between businesses people as anyone else. And so, before that happens, the smart entrepreneur will keep wooing them. How?
Give them some candy, some business candy.
What I mean is that it is important to show valuable customers just how valuable they are. Send them a thank you present, or a ‘discount good for long-term customers only’ coupon, or what about opening the store during off hours for a ‘best customer’ loyalty sale?
The important thing is that you let those great customers know that they are appreciated.
2. Write them a love note: When is the last time a company with whom you do business wrote you a thank you note? I bet it has been a while, and an even longer while since you received one via snail mail. But that is exactly what I am suggesting you do. Write to your best customers, thank them for their patronage, tell them that you value their business, and sign it with your own hand.
3. Take them to the movies: What is the essence of the movie experience? It is about being taken away to a different place and viewing something new, is it not? Well, what do customers see when they go to your website? If you are like a lot of small business people, those customers see the same show they saw last week, and last year.
Instead, you can capture their eye again if you give them a new movie, something new to view online, and you can do that if you spruce up your website:
- Add some video
- Create a new look
- Use some different colors and pictures
- Add new content
- Start a blog
4. Introduce them to your friends: Do you have a Facebook page? If not, consider getting one. Facebook sites are all the rage because they are affordable, easy, and friendly ways to interact with customers and potential customers.
Of course this is just a partial list. Check out the video I mention above and you will see even more ways that small businesses stay in touch with their customers and show them how much they are valued.
And in that vein, let me also say – thanks for stopping by our site, and for reading our articles. It is because of you that we get to do what we do. Thank you for that privilege.