If you break a sweat marketing and the numbers of your clients start to grow, the last thing you want is to have them fly away. Keep them with these expert tips…
According to neurological research featured in a BBC documentary series, consumers of Apple products have such intense loyalty to Steve Jobs’ handiwork that the brand actually triggers reactions in their brains similar to that of religious devotion. MRI imaging of an “Apple disciple” revealed that the logo and other images of the tech giant’s devices lit up the same areas of the brain and in the same way that images of deities do for religious folks.
While your small business may not generate a cult-like following such as Apple seems to have done, you can certainly make sure that once clients become part of your flock, you keep them there for the long term by eclipsing the competition with your own superior take on quality products with a personal touch added to each encounter.
47% of customers would take their business to a competitor within a day of experiencing poor customer service ( 7)
Dan Byers is the Regional Vice President in Los Angeles for the leader of the modern printing industry, Minuteman Press International. He addresses the importance of tending to the very foundation of business success through unmatched, personalized customer service that can lead to the treasure trove known as repeat business. Dan says, “Any business producing a consumable product needs to be focused on repeat business. Earning repeat business establishes a strong base of loyal customers – the foundation of long-term success. And while quality and service are both factors in securing repeat business, the two are not necessarily equal.”
Dan emphasizes the value of customer service as a way to tie loyalty from the hearts of your customers directly to your business. He continues, “Customer service is a bank account of goodwill and actually provides a type of insurance if your company ever makes a mistake – and is often cited as the greatest source of referrals, generating new revenue as well. So continue to provide great quality, but strive to provide an exceptional level of customer service. In addition to securing a customer’s loyalty, repeat business is often more profitable than the original order as it typically takes less time (labor) to produce. This is just another example of how acting in the best interest of others is acting in the best interest of your business.”
83% of consumers who switched providers say if companies could provide better live or in-person support, it would have impacted their decision to switch providers (Accenture)
You put a lot of work into securing a deep customer base, no doubt. From networking and developing an integrated marketing strategy, now you have them. Security issues top the reasons why consumers are hesitant to shop on their smartphones or tablets. One-third of the U.S. consumers surveyed said they do not use their smartphones or tablets for shopping due to security concerns, while 77 percent said they are wary about having their credit card information hacked.
“Why buy printing here at Minuteman Press when it can be shopped online?” asks Greg Duffey, owner of Minuteman Press in Norwalk, CT. His answer is telling for impersonal online options and reveals why Minuteman Press complaints are few and far between when it comes to personalized customer service and high quality. He says, “Well, not everything is a good fit for shopping online. Some things yes, but not everything. The idea of online shopping is to do away with human interaction. And costs can often be decreased because of the lack of payroll involved as well as an increase of automation. But what if you want to talk to someone about your print project in regards to paper or color(s)? What if you have a last minute change? What if you want to speak to someone in regards to design and layout? Or want to check on the quality of the images you used in your design?”
Caring is not the part of the job for impersonal online services
Greg continues, “Many people have had negative experience online because of the quality received and it’s common that the colors or images used were not correct for printing. If this same job were produced at Minuteman Press, we would raise a red flag prior to printing, get the client involved and hopefully get resolved with the use of better/proper artwork. An “online printer” does not care about colors, resolution, bleed, etc. It does not care because that is not its job. With so much automation in play, an online printer may provide you with exactly what was provided to them. Here at Minuteman Press, these issues are caught before the print process because we have the staff to review projects prior to going to print.
Again, I personally enjoy shopping for some things online. It’s easier, faster, and sometimes cheaper. But I can’t shop everything that way. We have customers that order things that could be shopped online. But they prefer to come in and talk for a few moments, ask about business and the family. This may be their opportunity to get out of the office, or out of the house and interact with someone. There is something special and important about the interaction element that we crave as humans.”
As an owner of the number one-rated digital print, design and marketing franchise, Greg Duffey knows what he is talking about when it comes to the conscious choices today’s consumers make when it comes to pledging their loyalty to brands. People need more than a clever (but shallow) slogan. They will connect with your business when you display that you share similar values with them, values common to all of us. Dove is a brand that provided a good example of such when it launched its “real beauty” campaign back in 2004. The company conducted a study that uncovered the fact that just 2% of women would call themselves beautiful. Dove responded by making themselves a champion of natural beauty and projected images of every day women in their advertising to bust beauty stereotypes and encourage a social dialogue about true beauty.
So how can you spread the word about the values your company shares with those likely to flock to your customer base?
Go ahead and find a cause or a charity to support and contribute to the community in which you are ingrained. For socially conscious clients even thinking about giving a competitor a try, these displays of generosity will hit home and combine with practical incentives like discounts delivered through a sharp direct mail piece to keep them quite satisfied and happy to tell people that your business is one they will stick by for the long term.
Justin Bester, owner of Minuteman Press in Hamilton, Ontario, tends to the needs of his business community as all Minuteman Press franchise owners are trained to do, combining the fine tradition of “old school” customer service established in the early 1970s with contemporary applications of technology and strategies which have helped make Minuteman Press International the modern version of the printing industry. Of his relationship to his clients, he shares, “As a business owner my goal is to develop a long term relationship with my clients. It’s “easy” to give mediocre service if you don’t expect to see a client again. I like to ensure that I exceed my clients’ expectations by offering my expertise, product knowledge and great customer service along with delivering a quality product.”
Most (93% to be exact) brand advocates feel they are a better marketing asset for brands than sales associates – Needle
Dawn Seifert, owner of Minuteman Press in Youngstown, OH, maintains genuine, trusting relationships with her clients and she puts effort into making sure they feel at home so as her reputation as a number-one rated digital print, design and marketing franchise precedes her and makes them flock to her, she keeps them!
Here are 2 tips to use that have worked well for Dawn Seifert as a successful business owner:
1. Make clients feel like they are the most important client you have. Learn their names and use them. Pay attention to tidbits of information about them so that you can reflect back to them and be ready whenever they call or stop in. Examples of such tidbits: birthdays, grandkids, favorite restaurants. Do not be afraid to ask about these things.
2. For the clients that don’t usually stop in and tend to call or fax orders, invite them to stop by and see your facility. Be proud of your shop and show them the quality of work you can do for them no matter what the job is. In the case of a printing industry franchise, for example, it is not just about business cards! Give them the “nickel tour”. Engage with your clients, don’t just expect them to give you their print work, they can go anywhere for that.
Marketing your business can be a walk in the park (business cards in hand, you never know who you will meet) …or a spot on a podium at a Chamber of Commerce meeting, or just the right amount of cold calling and a targeted direct mail campaign, and countless other ways in which you put yourself out there so people can realize they are missing something critical if they are not flocking to you for the best products and services your industry has to offer. Once you’ve got them, get to know them, feel their pain and be the source of relief from that pain, continually.
The heart of the attraction that will keep clients in your flock is connected to ethics mixed with authenticity and Minuteman Press franchise owner Dawn Seifert sums up the heart of those ethics succinctly, concluding: “BE HONEST, FAIR – AND ENTHUSIASTIC!”