Saturday, February 9, 2008

Treat Your Customers Like Royalty

In my office, a framed poster from Successories hangs on the most prominent wall. It reads:

It takes months to find a customer, but only seconds to lose one.

It's not a piece of art which complements the decor of my office; it's simply gold words printed on an orange background with a cheap black frame. In fact it's rather ugly, but the message is important. It's amazing how frequently my employees, suppliers and I discuss the message.

1) When prospective employees are interviewing in my office, I ask what they think of the saying. Their response to the question better be consistent with my philosophy or I quickly finish the interview and wish the person good luck.

2) When any of my employees complain about the demands of a customer request, we simply refer to the poster.

3) When I over hear a conversation or read an email that does not treat a customer with respect and dignity, we refer to the poster and the customer is called.

4) When a supplier is pumping attitude, I ask them to come visit me. We refer to the poster and they understand the reason for our demands. Many times the sales person leaves to buy one of the posters for their office.

5) We now have suppliers on four continents and its amazing how global this simply statement is understood.

With new customer acquisition being extremely expensive, the best marketing investment a business can make is one which retains existing customers. When Corky first started 15 years ago, I admit new customer acquisition took front seat over customer retention. One day nirvana hits you between the eyes and you think how much product a single customer has purchased over the years.

New customers are good for your ego, but existing customers are what keeps you in business. Treat your customers like royalty and you'll be well rewarded with loyalty.

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