|"People don't care how much you know until they know
how much you care."
It's interesting to see how many small businesses try as
soon as possible to follow the example of some large corporations to build an
impersonal "corporate image."
People actually prefer to do business with people, not
institutions. The last time you called an organization with a problem, weren't
you frustrated and didn't you experience emotional pain while "going through
voice mail hell" or being transferred until you got connected with a person who
could solve your problem? Corporate leaders with good marketing sense understood
When we think of Hewlett Packard, we think of Bill and
Dave. Lee Iacocca rebuilt Chrysler largely by being the corporate spokesperson
in commercials. No advertising has been more successful for Wendy's than Dave
Thomas telling us about his latest fast food offering. According to John
Sculley, former president of Apple Computer, it requires 16 times the investment
for an existing customer to replace the profits of one who is lost.
Keeping existing customers is a key to running a
Why we lose customers?
According to a study conducted by the Technical Assistance
Research Project in Washington D.C., 3% leave for convenience, 9% because of a
relationship, 15% because of product, price or delivery problems, and 5% for
other miscellaneous reasons.
That leaves 68% for the most significant reason: perceived
indifference. Customers want to feel important and appreciated. A key to build
customer loyalty is to build a relationship with customers/clients/patients
where they feel important and appreciated!
In any business, but especially a business where there is
contact with a customer and a representative of the company either in person or
on the telephone, the best way I know to cement that relationship is through
personal notes - thank you notes!
Personalize thank you notes by hand addressing the
envelope and using a real postage stamp. A hand-written note is best. But if
your handwriting is terrible, be sure to sign the letter in blue ink.
When should you write thank you notes?
When you are getting started in business or in sales, you
should write a note after any contact, including meeting someone at a seminar or
when you exchange business cards. Learn to be sincerely appreciative and express
that appreciation. If you deal with a problem, apologize personally with a
personal note and be sure the problem is resolved as quickly as possible, maybe
even sending another note after it's done.
You certainly will want to acknowledge major purchases and
referrals with thank you notes. You can sometimes exploit or manipulate people
and make a sale. But when you become an "assistant buyer," a friend who helps
the customer make transactions in his or her best interest, and express your
interest in the customer as a person, you are building a business or a sales
career that will provide for you and your family for years to come.