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Valuing Your Customers

We've all heard the phrases, "The customer is always right," or "Customer is King," - and there's a simple reason for that: Businesses don't survive if they don't have customers. And because most business owners want to survive, they'll (usually) do what needs to be done to keep their customers. 

Of course, we know the customer isn't ALWAYS right, but now's not the time to split hairs. At the end of the day, if you want to keep your doors open and the till humming, you need to keep them happy. That doesn't mean you must acquiesce to every ridiculous demand or unjustified complaint, but as a whole, learning how to value your customers is a critical component to long-term success.

Whether you've just acquired or started a new business or have owned one for years, it's never too late to put the following five suggestions into practice. 

Understand Your Customer: This is Marketing 101 but an important step that should not be skipped. Understand who you're selling to. Create your ideal client profile. Start with broad strokes, then get more specific. What are their demographics? What are their spending habits? How do they shop, online or in-store? The more you know about them, the more you can predict what they want or need.

Ask for Customer Feedback: It's pretty simple. Find out what you're doing right - then do more of that. Find out what you're doing wrong - then do less of that. Collecting customer feedback is one of the most valuable resources a business owner can access. Don't wait around for the public reviews. An unhappy customer is 2-3 times more likely to leave a review than a happy customer. And when you consider that around 95% of consumers read those reviews before making any purchasing decisions, that can be very detrimental to your business. Be proactive and course-correct when needed.

Improve the Customer Experience: Unless you have a very, very specific niche or have a complete monopoly on the market, you probably have competition. And if it's easier or more convenient for them to do business with options B or C, that's probably what they're going to do. You need to analyze your systems and processes. Are you set up to collect multiple types of payments? Is your website optimized for a mobile experience? How easy is it to reach customer service? How easy is it to make a return? Are your business hours conducive to your customer's shopping hours? (These are examples of invaluable feedback you can collect from your customers!) Think about what you can do to improve their overall experience, so the transaction isn't a chore and they look forward to doing business with you.

Reward Loyal Customers: "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold." Repeat customers are more valuable to your business. Case closed. Yes, you want to continue attracting new customers, but do not sink all your marketing dollars into that category. Not only is it five times more costly to get someone new through your doors, but the success rate of making the sale is only between 5-20%. (As opposed to 60-70% to an existing customer.) Focus on retention and thanking your loyal customers with thoughtful rewards they'll actually appreciate. This could include access to early savings, invites to VIP events, referral bonus programs, or a special level of service. Remember, they could go anywhere, but they chose you. Thank them. 

Educate Your Customers: The sales receipt might be final, but that doesn't mean the transaction has to end. You want to make sure your customer understands the full value of the products or services they purchased from you. This will increase their overall satisfaction - which is always good for business. It could be as simple as explaining the details in person when they're checking out or an automated email delivered to their inbox with additional information about features and benefits. This goes for new products and services, too. Don't just market to your customers - educate them. Explain how YOUR company has what they require to solve a problem or meet a need. Empower them to make the right decision. If you do it right, they'll choose you every time. 


Valuing your customers isn't necessarily catering to their every whim. (That's exhausting and, frankly, a poor business decision.) Rather, it's being intentional about understanding their needs and providing a solution they can feel good about. 




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