How to improve your business relationship through gifting and why its important
I had a chat with a fellow business owner last week, Anna, and she told me the story about a big client of hers who she had held for 5 years. There were never any complaints about her service, and she had kept the price of the contract the same all those years despite rising costs her end. It seemed they were getting a really good deal!
When she finally approached them to increase the cost of her services in line with wage inflation, they were not happy, and immediately went out to tender for a cheaper service. Anna was really shocked.
I asked her how she had treated that customer in the 5 years? Her reply was the same as before- great service, good prices, no complaints. It became obvious she had done nothing to build a personal relationship with this valuable customer beyond delivering a great service. No lunches, no dinners, no tasteful gift hampers, no days out – not even a check-in phone call or coffee to say thanks for the business – even though they were one of her biggest clients!!!
It stunned me because Anna was pretty smart and good at what she does. he soon realised her mistake. Because she hadn’t invested in the relationship with her customer, she was not seen as a person to them – and could not even engage in a conversation about proposed changes – instead, she immediately lost the contract as soon as there was something they were not happy with. It turned out one of her competitors HAD actually been investing in this relationship, and guess what? They got the contract even though Anna felt her service was far superior.
Customers are much more forgiving of issues or accepting of contract changes when they know you personally
From experience, I know that if you treat your customers how you would like to be treated – as a person not a number – this will pay back in spades. It’s not just about money, or retention, but also if something should go wrong with your product or service, clients are much more forgiving and happy to give you a chance to fix the issue. And the best part? You can come in and save the day when it’s fixed! (and reassure your customer you’ve put processes in places so the issue won’t arise again).
I love my job, because I help other businesses give a thoughtful gift to their clients, bringing joy to someone’s day. Here’s 10 more ideas on how to reward loyal customers . Do you have any of your own or stories to share? What’s your favourite way to improve your relationship with loyal customers?