- THE MAGAZINE
We all know just how important building a strong repeat and referral clientele is to the growth of our businesses. Many business owners feel this is accomplished entirely through outstanding workmanship and customer service.
This certainly accounts for at least 80 percent of the necessary requirements for achieving this goal, but what about the remaining 20 percent?
This is where loyalty comes into play. Not just the loyalty your customers show you, but the loyalty you and your firm show them. You can't have one without the other.
Client loyalty is achieved not only with great work and service, but it is also cultivated over time through friendship. For instance, we recently had an appointment with a long-time, regular client. This particular homeowner schedules her carpet and furniture cleaning twice annually (spring and fall) like clockwork. Sadly, after arriving for our fall cleaning, we were informed that she lost her husband this past summer. Immediately upon returning to the office, I sent a sympathy card to her home. A small gesture, indeed, but one that was surely unexpected, appreciated, and will be remembered by this client every time she receives a postcard from us.
Another example: One of our customers informed us that her friend (who also happened to be another of our clients) recently gave birth to her first child, a boy. Approximately three months later, the new mother phoned to schedule her annual appointment with us. We arrived with a small baby gift for the newborn. This cost about $5, but the client will remember us every time she sees her child playing with that toy! You see, building your database goes hand in hand with building friendships. A friendship results in a lifetime, loyal client.
There are additional things we do, such as handing out free spotters as holiday gifts in December. A bottle of liqueur or wine is hand-delivered to our valuable commercial-account contacts. These small business expenditures (and tax write-offs) pay big dividends over the long haul. If you aren't already doing this, start and start now! By all means, continue to make those follow-up phone calls after jobs and send out "Thank You" letters in a timely fashion, but also remember the intangibles, the extras, the "personal touch." The value placed on the interaction that all people crave and appreciate is immeasurable.
Build your business not only with quality service, but with the friendship and trust you share with your customers. They will repay you with a lifetime of loyalty.