Yesterday I wrote about how important first impressions were to customer relations.
Now, I’d like to turn our attention to what you can do to foster customer retention.
Later in the game the customer relations process evolves into follow-up and follow-through.
How would you react if…
… you got a call from your car dealer service manager a week after having some repairs done just to make sure everything is okay?
…you got a call from your doctor the evening after treatment just to check up on you.
…you got a questionnaire in the mail from a restaurant you dined at soliciting your comments and suggestions.
Some business people tell me that’s looking for trouble. I disagree. I think it’s looking for rapport, loyalty, satisfaction and repeat business.
If follow-up turns up a lot of dissatisfaction you need to make some changes. The dissatisfaction is there whether you discover it or not.
How would you react if you got a thank you note a few days after buying a new suit from a clothing store, you got a birthday card from your insurance agent, you got a free dinner gift certificate as a thank you from a hotel chain, you got a personalized luggage tag in the mail as a gift from your travel agent?
Recognition and appreciation can be very powerful and very inexpensive as a marketing strategy. It is true that comprehensive follow-up and follow-through may reveal some inadequacies in your business operation and that’s good if you use those discoveries as impetus for improvement.
Of course every business, no matter how well managed, will have to deal with dissatisfied even angry customers from time to time. Sometimes the customer is justified in his complaints, other times he is not, but the handling of the dissatisfied customer can have far reaching impact on a business.
Later this week, I’ll write about techniques that you should consider when dealing with the dissatisfied customer. Be on the lookout for it!
What follow up strategies do you use in your small business marketing?