Another birthday was looming…
I wasn’t real thrilled about the ever-growing number I’d have to enter the next time a form asked me for my age. But, I slowed my inevitable march towards “old” with my boyish enthusiasm for the cards I’d received in the mail.
I tore into the stack like a kid opening a pile of presents (okay, there were only three cards, but I really went at ‘em)!
The first card contained my annual $5 check from Aunt Ginny (I always loved her lack of concern for the buying power of the dollar). That left two. I recognized the return address of my childhood friend Danny. I was confident I could guess the general tone of this one; some age ridiculing cartoon on the cover, with disparaging remarks about my eyesight, gut and thinning hair carefully handwritten on the inside. But I’d save that one for a good laugh later.
That left the mystery card. No return address, no indication where it was from. I opened this one slowly… savoring the surprise. And there it was; a birthday card from my mechanic, complete with a gift certificate for free Road Trip Readiness service (28 point inspection, fluid top-off, etc.) worth $59.
To say I was surprised was an understatement. I mean, I hadn’t been there in months. How did he even know it was my birthday? But I gotta tell you, it felt good to know he thought enough about me to remember my birthday, let alone send me something I could really use for my upcoming family vacation.
In part 1 of this article, we looked at the importance of engaging with your customers. Yes, it’s important to deliver good service and quality products to help your customers keep you in mind. But letting them know they’re appreciated… that you’re grateful for their business… that you’re interested in them, not just their money… those things ingrain you into their hearts.
Now, if sentimentality is not you’re thing, look at it this way: when 10 companies have the same product and same general level of service, who do you think a person will prefer to do business with? Someone who can “get the job done”, or someone they like?
The same goes for existing customers. It doesn’t take a PhD in psychology to know that people are less likely to risk doing business with another company (your competitor) when they not only get what they need from you, but they enjoy doing business with you.
The problem with many B2B suppliers is that they forget that businesses are made up of people. And just because you’re doing business with another business (versus selling direct to the consumer), it doesn’t mean that all the rules of human nature are suddenly suspended.
So, let’s take a look at what we’ve talked about so far.
If you want to ensure repeat business for life, you must:
- Engage with your customers in a way that’s lets them know you appreciate them, not just their money
- Do things that help them keep you in mind
- Do things that make your customers enjoy doing business with you and make them feel appreciated and special
Now that we’ve covered the importance of “why”, it’s time to cover the “how”.
In the next and final installment we’ll give you several ways to get engaged, develop a relationship of trust and satisfaction, and keep the relationship nurtured for life.