This post is about how first time entrepreneurs or managers just need to apply common sense to the way of doing business. To learn how to manage customers, you don’t need to attend seminars on topics like winning and retaining your customer, customer loyalty, how to run business effectively, being a CEO and not a manager, etc. When you sit in these seminars and listen to some speakers, you will often feel, “Oh hell ya, I think I knew this” or “I could have figured this out”.
Just apply your personal life examples to your venture or your job and you will realize that managing people and situations is not very difficult. In this blog post, I will share my thoughts on Customers – It’s all about Wooing and Romancing them, just like your high school Girlfriend.
Go to Amazon.com and search under the books’ category – ‘win customers‘ – it shows almost 5300 results and ‘acquire customers‘ has over 3000+ results. If you even manage to read some of these books, it pivots around a single theme – Customer Experience.
Now, for a moment, flashback to your high school days when you really liked this beautiful girl and wanted to woo her. Also don’t forget those other chaps who were trying to flatter her too. All you wanted was to be different, get that one date and eventually win her heart. Now back to business, how different is your objective to win that customer? Take a moment and think, what did you do right /wrong in wooing that girl. Can you apply the same basic principles here too?
Let us consider an analogy between winning a customer and wooing your dream girl!!
1. The first date defines it all.
Some new e-commerce companies undertake huge acquisition cost per customer, in a few cases it is as high as Rs. 1200 – Rs. 1500 ($24 – $30). Typically this includes discounts, promotions, online advertising, social media, contests, emailers and SMS. After sending all these chocolates, flowers and small gifts, even if you get a coffee date – remember DON’T SCREW IT UP! A customer will always look for an honest and a dependable provider. When visiting a site or purchasing a product online, customers want simplicity to discover, purchase reviews from people, transparent pricing, seamless payment option, timely delivery and a good customer service.
2. Listen to her. She wants to be heard.
Along with your eyes, keep your ears open too. If you don’t listen to what your customers are saying – it’s a one way ticket to ‘Separation Station’. Capture every feedback. Most of your innovations and forthcoming features will be based on these. Hence, make it easy to give feedback.
3. Make her feel Special
Like any girl wants, she expects you to make her feel special. Similarly, make your customers feel special – Send an e-card on special occasions, inform them in advance about the new features/ products/ services that you are launching. If you haven’t heard from your customer for some time, send them a coupon or a promo-code to induce re-visit.
4. Dont build unreasonable expectations. Sometimes, it is okay to say NO.
In any relationship, be it with your girlfriend or your customer, avoid building unreasonable expectations. Especially in B2B environments, if there are unreasonable demands from a customer, it is okay to apologize and say that it cannot be currently met and provide the genuine reason. A customer will appreciate your NO rather than a poor product /service. However, please ensure that you keep the customer in loop when you start working towards it. These updates will reinforce the customer’s trust in you.
5. She too is a part of some community
Any bad experience is always publicized and these days to a larger audience (thanks to social media). If there is a shipment delay, product defect, breakage in transit or payment issue, and your customer service has not been able to solve the problem, you will face the social wrath. A negative word out there can do significant damage.
6. Just don’t let go of her. Try to work things out.
In case the customer is annoyed – (just like your girlfriend) try to resolve the situation and don’t leave the customer sulking. A bad experience will haunt you when it comes to reference check (especially in a B2B environment). Remember cost of acquiring a new customer is always more than retaining one.
I love the way the CEO of a mobile gaming company managed the complaint of a fuming customer on Twitter.
7. The best way to part is to part amicably
Well, heartbreaks will happen. Sometimes it’s best if you move on. But if you do so, do it amicably. Resolve the matters and then say a goodbye. If your customer has ordered something on display on your site and it seems difficult to fulfill that order – make an effort to procure it from somewhere else or reverse the transaction. But do this quickly before the customer loses faith. In a B2B scenario, this is very important. If you are unable to fulfill your customer’s expectation, end the relationship in an amicable way. Enable a smooth transition. You never know in the future the customer might just come back to you!
It would be great to hear your thoughts on this topic and if you have similar experiences do share them.