Companies vary wildly in their sizes, goals, products, services, finances, locations—and in myriad other ways. But one constant applies across the board to all organizations: people are the key to everything.
The HR industry often focuses on people as employees who are a vital resource or asset. People (and the work they do) are what we provide to our clients. Without those people, we wouldn’t be in business.
But it’s important to remember that in any industry, “people” encompass not only staff but also customers. Without an audience for what we do, we wouldn’t be in business.
An astonishing number of businesses forget this important fact—and thereby sabotage their long-term plans for success and growth. Indeed, they sometimes shoot themselves in the foot so badly that they disappear completely from the business scene.
If you want to avoid that sad fate for your own organization, you must treat each client as if he or she were the most important client you have. As soon as you make your first sale with a customer, that relationship is in danger of decline unless you work hard to keep it in tip-top shape. How do you do that? Here are a few suggestions:
Treat every interaction with a client as an opportunity to build and strengthen your relationship with him or her. Giving your clients unsolicited and useful ‘stuff’ is one useful strategy to accomplish this.
Rather than merely meeting your customers’ expectations, always do your best to exceed them.
Constantly strive to improve your product or services. It never hurts to have “the best” be something that comes to mind when people think of your company!
Don’t focus on landing new customers so much that you lose the ones you already have. The most successful companies understand that they need to focus on retention more than on acquisition. If you want your current clients to stick around, you need to provide what they want and need. As I’ve pointed out before, “Remember, sales and marketing can win new customers, but exceptional service keeps them from answering the call from your competitors.”
Keep in touch with your clients, so they never feel that you’ve abandoned them. Foster connections and build brand loyalty through regular communications.
In short, never assume that your customers will always be around. So do your best to cultivate great relationships with the ones you have and be sure to show them that you value them for more than what they contribute to your own bottom line.
Maya Angelou once said, “People may not remember what you did or said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” Keep in mind that your customers are the people who keep your business, well, in business, and at the end of the day your goal should be to make sure they feel good about their relationship with your organization.