Customers For Life is a very powerful philosophy. It puts customers at the forefront of your company and your strategic plans.
It makes a lot of sense to do so since you won't have any revenue without any customers.
A Customers For Life philosophy does not mean you will end up serving all of your customers for their entire life or the life of your business.
Some of your customers' needs will change beyond what you offer and you will outgrow some of your customers. However, a Customers For Life philosophy ensures that you look out for your customers and help them find the right solution for their needs when you no longer offer the best solution.
Just because you're no longer doing business with someone doesn't mean you can't be friends. A Customers For Life philosophy will ensure you're getting referrals from former customers long after the business relationship has ended.
People like to do business with those they know, like and trust. They also like to see their friends be successful and are often willing to go out of their way to help their friends.
Here are five things I recommend pursuing to get more customers for life:
- Use Net Promoter Score surveys. This quick and easy three question survey lets you know several things: how you're doing in your customers' eyes; what areas you can improve upon; and, how engaged your customers are in your brand. It lets your customers know you're concerned about their happiness and interested in referrals. It's also the way to initiate a dialog with those customers with whom you've yet to speak with.
- Customer Bonding Program. A customer bonding program helps the customer get the most value out of your product or service. By following up with customers after their purchase, you know if they have any issues which you need to address for them as well as for future buyers of your product or service. You learn what they like and don't like, as well as what they need, or don't need, next.
- Empower employees. By educating your employees about the Customers For Life philosophy, you are empowering and encouraging your employees to provide outstanding customer experiences that will help you earn customers for life. These outstanding customer experiences are also likely to be shared with family, friends and colleagues in person and via social media. Employees that provide the most outstanding customer experiences are likely the future leaders of your, or someone else's, company.
- Trust. Dr. Ralph E. James wrote The Integrity Chain for the construction industry in 2002. I had the pleasure of working with Ralph and publishing the second edition of the book. While the book is written for the construction industry, its principles apply to ANY industry. Have integrity to earn trust. Earn trust to get repeat business. Get repeat business to be profitable. With the growth of the internet and social media, integrity and trust are far more important today than in 2002. In order to have Customers For Life, you must earn, and keep, their trust. Doing so will give you a cushion on those occasions when you do fail to live up to a customer's expectation.
- Model and reward a Customers For Life philosophy. From the CEO down, everyone in the company should be able to explain what the philosophy is, why it's important and their role in its execution. Those that exemplify a Customers For Life philosophy will help the company, and themselves, be much more successful. It's useful for employees to think of their colleagues as customers as well. By treating your colleagues as customers, your business will run more smoothly.
Do you have examples of how a Customers For Life philosophy has improved your relationship with customers?
Or, have you experienced how it has improved a company's relationship with you?