The Essential Assistant

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Customer Relations Management – Beyond the Holiday Greeting and Semi-Annual Sale

Staying in touch with your customers is more important than ever in today’s competitive business environment. Consumers are inundated with brand choices on a daily basis and you want to make sure they think of you when they need your product or service. Many business owners are unsure of how to reach out to customers without being “pushy”.  The key is to be sincerely focused on benefiting them rather than pitching your business or pressuring them into a sale.

First and foremost, it’s important to treat your customers like people. They want to be acknowledged for more than just buying what you have to offer. Therefore, take an interest in who they are, learn their likes and dislikes, find something that you have in common. This shows that you value them and can strengthen relationships and build trust.

Make notes about what they do and where you see them outside of the buyer/seller circumstance. If they are on social media comment, like and share their posts. This is especially important if they are fellow business owners. If you see them at local events, or places be sure to acknowledge them and spend a few minutes talking about everyday things.

Many business owners stay in touch with customers through newsletters. These can be electronic and should focus on adding value to the customer. You can share industry news; introduce new products or services you will be offering (minus the sales pitch). If you participate in local events or support a local cause make sure to mention it, people like supporting businesses that are invested in the community. Sending a newsletter on a monthly or quarterly basis allows you to provide enough information to keep your customers attention without being overwhelming.

Promotional items are a great way to keep your business in front of your customers. However, make sure that hey are useful and add value. No one needs another refrigerator magnet or sticky note pad. Connect the item to your industry and be creative, also consider what you would like to receive from a business. Greeting cards and notes can go along way to build loyal customers but go beyond the traditional holiday greeting card. To make your card memorable send one for unusual holidays – Groundhogs Day, Happy Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, Fourth of July, etc. Just be sure to keep it fun, tasteful and family friendly.

Finally, timing and content is extremely important. Many customer relations management software programs can keep track of what you send to whom and when. Respect your customers communication preferences and be sure to make it as easy as possible for them to do business with you.