In the business world, people are always pushing the “new way” of doing things. Those people always advertise things like: How to obtain the best and brightest employees by using yada-yada strategy, how to get new customers loyal to your company, how to engage with your customers on social media and beyond, how the old marketing and selling strategies are losing, and much more. Trust me, I am all for innovation and advancement, however, sometimes these new methods do not build lasting relationships.
Imperfect Concepts uses social media to engage our customers, but we go beyond that. We want to know them outside of the social realm of life. For instance, I pride myself in sending a thank you card in every order. You can place eight orders in a month and every time you will get a thank you card. I like sending birthday cards, graduation cards or just plain thinking of you cards. Heck, I even send bracelets and care packages just because I know everyone likes unexpected gifts. People want to know you appreciate them. Yes, I know I am on a smaller scale of business, but that’s no excuse for anyone to slack off on customer care. Louis Vuitton, Barney’s and Nordstrom all send me thank you cards when I shop with them, and my personal shopper acknowledges my birthday and other special moments. They understand the importance of old-style customer service, and so should you.
You have to remember, as a business owner, that the people who buy your products or services are the reason your lights stay on. No matter how big you get, they are the reason you and your employees get a check.
While reading, The Personal Touch by Terrie Williams, I learned that so many people skip over the personal touch. Even Kelly Cutrone in her book, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside , mentions how she calls people simply because you can’t always rely on your Blackberry.
For example, I contacted several people when I launched my business. They didn’t respond to my emails or calls. Mind you, friends referred them to me, but when I was fully established as a business woman, I realized that I shouldn’t pass along their contact information when someone needed a PR firm, hairstylist, or graphic designer. Instead, I gave them the contact information of people who treated me amazingly well. I referred the people who answered my questions no matter how stupid they were. I referred the people who contacted me directly.
I am not saying that you personally need to call every customer, but you do need to make real and lasting connections. Return calls no matter who it is. Respond to emails in a timely matter. Tell your customers thank you just because.
The world no longer exists within six degrees of separation. I am one person away from Oprah, two from Beyonce, three from Adam Levine because of connections I have made. Real life connections are what’s important. Your reputation can be ruined by just one connection. Are you willing to lose it all because your ego got in the way, and you forgot to respond to that “uncomfortable” voicemail, you felt you were too big to call so-and-so back, or because you don’t see the need to respond to customer order questions?
Too many times, we dismiss people because we do not see the value in them. We dismiss our customers as just dollar signs. We dismiss potential employees because of lack of experience, or we dismiss advisors because they might have their own agendas. But, if you truly want your business to last the sands of time, you must dig deeper than the new way of customer service. Go past the superficial. Pick up the phone, mail a letter, and make the little things matter. People will take notice.
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