How valuable are your customers? Who is your Robert Plant? Which is more important? A new customer or a long-term customer? Do you treat each differently? Remember the days of business when people were more focused on driving sales than customer service? Business’ had strict return policies, short return windows, a receipt was required. If you had an unhappy customer, No big deal you had plenty of others waiting in line. My, my how things have changed. You are not only fighting over new customers but you are also doing whatever it takes to keep your current customers. That means you offer an excellent product or service and rock star customer service. Or you end up saying farewell to your customer. So just how valuable are your customers? Priceless.
My amazing wife, Jana and I, recently celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We were shopping and decided to buy an anniversary plant. I named it Robert Plant after the band Led Zeppelin. We jokingly said, “As long as Robert is alive, so will our marriage.” We put him in the trunk and did some more shopping. Keep in mind we live in Las Vegas and it was the end of summer. To our surprise when we arrived home Robert looked almost dead. We freaked! I immediately took him inside, gave him water and began talking to him. As each day went by, he continued to look more lifeless and dried up. I cut off the dead leaves, added plant food, more water and told him our marriage was at stake. He looked totally dead and Jana wanted to throw him out, but I said no! I believe we can save him and our marriage. Robert was brown and dried up. I had no more leaves to cut off. His stem was loose in the dirty pot. I kept watering and talking to him daily, Jana too. Approximately three weeks later, I was ready to accept reality and toss him into the trash. I picked him up, looked at him and said… “OMG Robert you’re back!” Way far down in the center of his dead brown stem was a tiny little piece of green leaf trying to push out. Robert was alive and our marriage was saved. I knew we were not out of the woods, but we had hope, new momentum and drive.
I wonder how many of you dismiss customers as soon as something goes wrong with your product or service. Sure, you will make at least one or two attempts to make things right. But if the customer doesn’t respond do you say, ”oh well” or “next”, or do you “fight for the right to parrrrty” with that customer? Do you make the commitment to keep trying no matter what? Do you have a rock star attitude to never surrender, never give up? Do you continue to nurture the relationship, and keep communication open. Do you sincerely care what happens? Rock stars cannot afford to lose fans, just like you cannot afford to lose customers. Fans and customers are our lively hood. Treat them like gold. When you screw up, be honest, own it, and be 100% transparent. If they don’t respond positivity at first, “Don’t Stop Believing” that you can’t save the relationship. Do what ever it takes.
Companies now will take back just about anything no questions asked. You don’t have to tell little white lies about the product and why it doesn’t work or you didn’t like it. Just send it back. Some companies even take back items they don’t even sell just to keep the customer from going some place else. WOW! That is showing how important customers are. If you’re a service company, make it right, save the day, go the extra mile. Always over deliver. When you consistently make it your mission statement or part of your culture to over deliver, you won’t have to worry about customer service.
Now which customer is more important, the old or new? They are equally important. Never take advantage of a long-term relationship. One of the lessons I learned many years ago, I would discount and go way out of the way to acquire new customers. My loyal customers and long term fans that I knew would book me no matter what. I would raise my price and ask more of them instead of giving them more. Shame on me! These were my loyal fans and followers. They should be getting constant VIP treatment. Volume discounts, first priorities because they are your best source of advertising. Your power referrals, your base. The people you can count on in a slow economy. I am so grateful that I turned that attitude around. Unfortunately, it cost me a couple great accounts. But I know now, always over deliver for everyone equally. The cool thing about this story is that it’s exactly what I teach from my Opportunity Rocks Keynote and book. Music is a business just like yours. Turns out it’s not rocket science, It’s ROCK-IT science. And what’s even cooler, these rock star principles of success work for personal relationships as well. A successful marriage or relationship takes a lot of TLC, nurturing, communication, transparency, a never surrender never give up attitude. The bible says,” Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Just change the word neighbor to customer. “Love thy customer as thyself”, what a great mission statement! I wish you much customer and fan building success!
The Business Rockstar is an Author, International Keynote Speaker, and Customer & Engagement Guru
Click Here to learn more about Marvelless Mark
PS. Robert Plant is still alive, thriving and we see each other everyday. Opportunity Rocks!