On Tom Peters blog, guest post from Steve, asks: "In an age of interchangeable products and easily duplicated services, customer relationships have become one of the most powerful competitive advantages available to a business. Do you agree?"
"We all want our customers to believe “I can’t get it anywhere else” when they think of us. Relationships between you and a customer are often the best opportunity to create something unique and irreplaceable in your customer’s mind."[source]
It's all about the R-ship. Nordstrom's, Nieman Marcus. Ritz-Carlton. Starbucks. Whole Foods.
In a world where no one can beat Wal-Mart, China, and the ILECs on price and cost, you have to Differentiate. Stand Out. Or it becomes just about price.
One way to differentiate is through innovation. Another way is through Customer Relationship Management (CRM). And I'm not talking about the software. I'm talking about touching your clients in ways that are valuable (high touch).
What are you doing about your R-ships?
- Hand written thank you, anniversary, birthday cards.
- Follow up CS calls. After any repair / billing / service call, follow-up with a quick: Did we solve your issue to your satisfaction? Thank you for being our customer."
- In a Hosted VoIP install, do you follow up to ensure that Mary is able to use the service?
- Hosting clients: We noticed your website, do you need help with SEO or a designer? We have partners we can suggest or a class / webinar you can attend.
- We noticed that you have a lot of spam, virus problem
- Reminder service about MS Updates, security patches, and most important: Did you update and run your anti-virus lately? How about backing up your mail / address book?
- Best clients need more sales. Invite them to networking & charity evenst with you. They will be a testimonial for you and you can introduce them to prospects. Win-Win.
- New app or website of the week - shows you as the expert; puts you in front of them.
- Humor of the week - make them laugh and you make a sale.
These are just a few of the ways to be WAY better than the competition. Most of this can be done by a part-time person from their home with a VoIP phone. (BTw, this will be included in my book for sure :)