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Build Customer Loyalty to Grow Your Small Business

Acquiring new customers helps any small business grow.  Customers are known to come and go.  All customers that leave are not necessarily dissatisfied or disgruntled.  Customers may move out of your area for any number of reasons, or no longer need your products or services.  Worst case scenario would be that for some reason, you failed to build customer loyalty. To grow a small business,  former customers have to be replaced. Remember that current customers are the lifeblood of your business and keeping them satisfied should be your highest priority.  Their experience with your firm, your products or services and your staff needs to be exceptional.  For all of these reasons, it is imperative that you build customer loyalty. Statistics show that, on average, U.S. companies lose [...]

By | October 30th, 2016|Customer Experience, Customer Relationships|2 Comments

Millennials – Quit Thinking About Them Coming – They’re he-re!

'Designing Strategies' Newsletter March - April 2016 Issue                       Volume 13 - Issue 70   Talk has been going on for the past ten years that 'soon' Millennials would become a major force in the marketplace and the workplace. In case you haven't notices, they're here. They are here in massive numbers – large and in charge. If you have not seriously worked on your marketing strategy for reaching them, you are way behind. They are here and in force. The leading edge of 76 million of them are now thirty-somethings with the ability to seriously flex their economic muscle on any industry. Millennials need your attention - now.  It doesn't matter if you are a [...]

How to Handle Negative Customer Feedback

Sometimes, as hard as we might try to provide exceptional service to every customer, one of them will be dissatisfied about something.  In an ideal world, every sale or project would run smoothly and result in a highly satisfied customer.  Wouldn't that be wonderful?  But, reality means that sometimes things will go wrong.  When things go wrong, sometimes it will result in negative customer feedback if the problem is not handled promptly. It would be nice if the dissatisfied customer would give us a call, explain the problem and let us resolve it. But, that's not always the case. Sometimes they will just sit back and brood about it, wondering why we haven't figured out what the problem is via ESP or mental telepathy. Then, after they [...]

By | January 7th, 2016|Customer Experience, Customer Relationships|0 Comments

Today’s Customers Are NOT Your Father’s Customers

'Designing Strategies' Newsletter September – October 2015                     Volume 12 -- Issue 67 There have been various versions of the 'It's Not Your Father's (whatever)' on TV and in magazine and newspaper advertisements over the past few years. Ad Agencies must think we have yet to notice that things have changed and aren't the same as they were years ago. No surprises there. Of course things have changed. Almost everything has changed to some degree.  Today's customers are very different from those our parents dealt with in the past. Everything has changed.  Very few things are like they used to be.  Cars, clothing, homes, communication devices and the food we eat every day are not the [...]

Customer Referrals: Get New Customers Through Old Customers

Every small business owner wants their customers to love them.  Well, we at least want them to be extremely satisfied with the products or services we provided for them.  In these situations, everybody is happy.  All small businesses also want new customers. More customers equal more sales.  More sales add to growth and success.  Each new customer also provides increased opportunities for more word of mouth customer referrals that can lead to even more new customers. Referrals are nice to get, but don't leave giving referrals entirely in the hands of the referrers. If you do, they will be in complete control over what information gets passed on about you, your firm and whatever products or services you provide. It is great when a customer [...]

By | April 2nd, 2015|Customer Experience, Customer Relationships|0 Comments

5 Phases of a Customer Lifespan

What is a customer lifespan? Did you know that customers have a lifespan? Or, perhaps lifecycle is the better term.  It sounds so much more on-going, doesn't it?  Once you've found a potential customer or client,  or they've found you, the business relationship is official. Some customers will come to you for one purchase or project. Others may stay for a long time, doing business with you over and over again.  You would think that the customer lifespan begins with the first purchase, or order, or signing of a contract to do business. But, That's not where the relationship begins at all. In reality, the lifespan begins before that first sale. Five phases of a customer lifespan 1. Attraction The first thing you need to do is get noticed [...]

By | September 11th, 2014|Customer Relationships, Sales|0 Comments

Customer Pain: Identify It, Then Heal It

A Fast Company magazine article  on understanding what customers will buy, brought out the most basic human factors that affect why people will spend money.  Consumers will buy a product or a service to ease pain or in search of pleasure. If you have a nasty headache, you’ll rush to buy aspirin or another pain reliever in a heart beat. Why? Because aspirin will relieve the pain and provide a more pleasant experience. If you scrape a knee, you quickly clean the wound, slather on something that numbs the pain and then apply a bandage to protect the area while it heals. Of course you will buy all the necessary medical supplies to take away the physical pain. Pain will always be a call to action, [...]

By | October 13th, 2013|Customer Experience, Customer Relationships|0 Comments

Customer Influence: How It Can Negatively Affect Your Business

'Designing Strategies' Newsletter July - August, 2013                         Volume 10 - Issue 54 It is sometimes difficult to put your arms around actual costs related to losing a customer. That said, the fact remains the impact on your bottom line can be significant. There is a good chance dissatisfied customers will not bother to say goodbye. Nor will they tell you why they are unhappy.  Neither of these situations is a good position for your firm to be in.  The extent of customer influence in your marketplace is something you need to be aware of. Not long ago, pre-Internet and social media, an unhappy customer was likely local.   They would come in person or  call [...]

Customer Service – How Good Is Yours?

I've been involved in  'discussions'  in several different Groups on LinkedIn recently.  In every case, conversations eventually got around to the need for better customer experiences  for business success.  This is so true in the relationship environment we are doing business in today.  Expectations are higher than ever.  Customers expect more than what used to be called 'customer service' -- everyone claims to be great at it, but very few stand out.  Most are just sorely lacking.   I recently returned from a trip to Tucson, AZ.  I was scheduled to present a program on Designing for the Generations.  The local ASID chapter that hired me was very hospitable. Of course, the weather was far better there than here in Ohio at the time.    Seeing old friends, sharing information [...]

Customers – Separate the Wheat and Chaff

I was reading an article written by Jim Clinton, CEO at Gallup. The title of the article was: "America is Losing Jobs by Ignoring Its Best Trading Partners."   The article discussed how the we spend so much time focused on Russia, China and the Middle East, all of which are very small players in the GDP here in the United States. The article went on to say that Mexico and South America are much better friends to us and represent a much larger piece of our GDP and therefore, our economic situation. "So what?" you might ask. "What does that have to do with my business?"  It was a paragraph near the end that caught my attention and brought this all down a more personal business level [...]

By | February 19th, 2013|Customer Relationships, Strategy|0 Comments