The relationships you have with your existing customers are your key to success

You are Great

The economy in the coming year will remain tight for pretty much everyone.

Given that and given that we are heading towards a new year, I wanted to ask you to consider something: look after, cherish and build the relationships that you have in your business, particularly with your customers.

In doing that we must think about the relationships that we actually have with our customers, the sort of relationships that we want to build with our customers and how we are going to do that. I wrote about this in a recent guest post (Back to Basics: 6 Steps for Excellent Customer Engagement) on Get Satisfaction’s blog earlier this month.

So, in the coming year, please make sure you focus a significant amount of your business’ effort on keeping your customers, letting them know how great you think they are rather than just acquiring them and chasing their business. After all, once you’ve spent a whole heap of effort and resources on earning their trust and business, why waste that?

Here’s some ideas for you to try out that focus on building the relationship you have with them:

  • Call them up to say Hi! from time to time;
  • Send them a gift unrelated to your business … but something they would like based on what you know about them. Why? Because, we all like free stuff and receiving presents;
  • Make it your business to learn their birthdays and send them cards as we all like to be remembered on special days;
  • Introduce them to somebody or something that they will find useful;
  • Ask for their opinion and do something about it. However, once done tell them what you’ve done, they’ll appreciate it and they’ll then know that their opinion counts;
  • Celebrate their successes. Feature them in your newsletter or on your website, particularly if they are business customers;
  • Etc;
  • Etc

Now, not all of these ideas will apply to your business and there are many more. But, I am sure at least one will apply.

However, relationships are not one-off events but are a series of events that are stitched together over time.

So, make the time, effort and commitment to build your relationship with your customers and their business, their view of you and the amount they talk about you will grow.

Here’s to a 2013 that focuses on relationships!

Thanks to M.Ryan Photography for the image.

15 comments On The relationships you have with your existing customers are your key to success

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  • Hello Adrian
    Your post brings back to me a conversation I had with my parents in November. We were discussing charitable giving – to make a difference to people who would welcome that difference. At the end of the conversation my father refused to contribute to the ’cause’. Why? He stated that he was brought up first to take care of his own. Who is his own? Those in his community who can do with help.

    Why do I bring this up? It occurs to me that our existing customers are part of our community. Put differently, they are ‘kin’ as in ‘of our kind’ by virtue of being our customers. And so it makes great sense to treat them as such. Not just assets to be milked, but members of our community to whom we can be of service. And that service may simply be a ‘thank you for being our customer’.

    All the best for this year.


    • Hi Maz,
      Thinking of our customers as part of our community, or even, our extended family is a great way to think about it.

      I wish you and your community and extended family all of the best for the coming year,


  • Adrian,

    I used to work for myself, the one thing I learnt was that one existing customer is worth twenty potential customers.

    I just wish I had taken more of your advice.


    • Hi James,
      The simplest things are often the easiest to do and the easiest to forget to do. I wonder if that has to do with how we are educated to conduct ourselves in business. What I mean is…..don’t you find it surprising that little time or effort is spent studying customer retention etc on most ‘business’ courses?


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  • Adrian,

    It frustrates me when businesses spend their resources trying to acquire new customers and do nothing special for existing customers. I’ve written about this before in my blog. Why do new customers get all the great prices, options, etc.? Why doesn’t my cell phone provider call me (I’ve been a customer for almost 20 yrs) and offer me something cool for continuing to give them my business? The only time I hear from them is when I initiate or when they send me a bill. Same goes for my bank, of which I’ve also been a long-time customer. Never hear from them unless they send me a new card, solicit a new product, or change a policy. Hardly what I would call a “relationship.”

    Annette 🙂

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