Let me ask you a ridiculous question…
Do you think of your best customers as people who are “going to do business with us anyways,” and therefore, don’t need that much attention?
Followup question: Is most of your time, energy, and money spent chasing new customers, who are almost always of questionable, lesser quality and value than your best customers?
If you’re reading this, the answer is almost certainly not. But you’d be surprised at how often people answer both of those questions “Of course!”
Most CEOs and business people I talk to know that they should be nurturing their best customers to maintain their business, but they aren’t entirely sure how to do it. There’s a ton of conflicting advice on the topic, and it’s almost always about improving customer service.
Let’s stop enabling the ACSE: Aggravating Customer Service Experts. They’re aggravating because they write hundreds of books on the topic and give hundreds of corporate speeches proclaiming the “Top 20,30,50” things you can to do to keep customers happy – like “say thank you.” Their hearts are in the right place, but they’ve never actually helped a company build a customer follow-up process or put programs in place to recognize and nurture their top customers.
It’s a lot like reading a single article about Zappos, or one of the 4832 books on Amazon about Zappos and then deciding your new motto is to do whatever it takes to please the customer, at whatever cost. It’s a great strategy for Zappos, but if you’re going to put it in place, are you confident that your company is structured and financed like Zappos to make it work for you? Most of the armchair experts don’t even bother thinking this deeply on the topic.
What if there was a simple way that took less time, cost less money, and could deliver a greater ROI?
Well, it turns out there is. Paying more attention to your top customers can have a demonstrable impact on your company’s growth. But it’s not just about paying more attention to them. It’s more about how you do it.
I try to frequently acknowledge my best clients and customers – even though I know many of them aren’t going anywhere.
I just launched NoahsRoundTable.com (for my inner-onion of best clients), and many of them have just received letters and a physical gift that I know they’ll enjoy. It costs me money, but so what? The cost is insignificant. That money is far better spent on them than chasing new customers.
I urge all of my clients to find ways to show their appreciation for their best customers, and I urge you to follow suit.
Now here’s the critical point.
This tidbit isn’t about offering “discounts,” because your best customers rarely want a discount. There’s a difference between gifting & discounting; a difference between hard value & soft value; and a distinction between what companies think their best customers want, and what they actually want.
So if your best customers don’t want discounts, then how can you spend money on them? First, recognize that they want (and appreciate) the special consideration that others don’t get. And they want to know that you know how important they are.
So where and how should you be spending your money?
Spend your money in ways that make them feel appreciated.
Spend money to reach out to them in ways that are personal and meaningful.
Spend your money on creating remarkable moments. Remember my classic article on The Bentley & The Butler found HERE.
Spend your money on creating a sense of place exclusively for them. I’ve had clients create special clubs exclusively reserved for their best customers and others continuously clamor to be a part of it.
This Week’s Key Challenge:
Identify your top 10% of customers or clients (if you don’t know who they are, you should).
What can you do this week to recognize them and show them how much you appreciate their business?
Let me know what you plan to do by responding to this email.