Every business’ most important customer is the returning customer or a repeat customer.
The ones who come back every time to buy from the business time and again. Handle that client like gold with all the care and attention because they’re your goose that lays golden eggs.
Unfortunately, many business owners end up taking these kinds of customers for granted. What happens is as they keep coming back a relationship is built/created over time. You become so familiar with each other that this familiarity may start breeding contempt.
This is the worst thing that can ever happen to your relationship (client-service provider relationship). No matter how close you get they still remain a client and are entitled to be treated as such, never forget that.
Regardless of how familiar you feel you are with a client of this nature, never should you drop into that zone of feeling you’re too close and start taking them for granted.
I have seen it on various occasions and also experienced it myself. If your the kind that can’t get too close to your customers and still maintain that blurred line between them being a friend and client then don’t get overly friendly with your clients more so the returning ones. If this is what it will take to keep that transactional relationship professionalism then do it.
About a year and a half we had a service provider/restaurant that offered us food at office. It was in the same location with our office so we walked there for lunch every day. We would go eat, sign in a book and they would get paid every Friday without fail. They woke up every day knowing they had about 8-10 customers (us) assured regardless of how the day turned out for the business.
This went on for a good time and in the process we became so close to the business and this closeness started being abused.
Every time we’d go for lunch we’d be served last. There was this feeling these are our people they are going no where. So they would first serve those one time walk in clients they felt would leave if not attended to with urgency.
The attention and care they were given was something we’d only experienced in the start. The presumption was those are our people they will understand. We started feeling our loyalty to the business was grossly being abused.
Every time we talked to the owner of the restaurant I think in her mind she didn’t take it seriously, after all we were her people and we were going no where.
In a meeting one day, we agreed we’d had enough. The service was very unbearable now so we decided to move.
When we did I think it took her by surprise and all calls for us to come back only but fell on deaf ear. We were gone, never to come back. It didn’t take long before she closed shop. I wouldn’t say we made her close shop but us and people like us did.
A lot of the other guys too left and she started struggling until she would hold it no more and closed. We got a new person and agreed not to get so close and personal to our new service provider and some how we’ve kept them for a while.
This is the biggest mistake most business owners make. When you have a returning customer, that’s the bedrock of your business. The block that goes in the foundation on which every thing else is built. The most important block on the house and when it breaks the whole house may collapse.
Regardless of how close you get with these kinds of clients never let your familiarity with them breed contempt. Loyalty is hard to find in the business world, when you find it don’t abuse it, don’t take it for granted and if anything treat it with the highest level of respect and attention it deserves.
The secret rule of business is, all clients are equal but some are more equal than others. The ones that are more equal than others are those returning clients. It’s not something you must recite out loud for every one to hear but keep reciting it at heart and be guided by that principle.
Don’t fall into that trap. If it’s something you can’t handle then avoid getting so close to your clients more so the returning ones so you’ll naturally keep that level of professionalism some how over time as you engage with them repeatedly.
Jaluum Herberts Luwizza is a Speaker,Writer and Business Columnist with the Nile Post.He is also a Business Consultant at YOUNG TREP East Africa’s No.1 Business Management and Consultancy firm that helps people start and grow profitable businesses.
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