Customer Relationship = Customer Retention

In a good blog post, called It's the Relationship, Stupid, the author (one of the principals from My Creative Team, in Charlotte, NC) talks about the difference one new manager made in turning a local restaurant from good to great.  This manager inherited a restaurant where the author had experienced pretty good food, but pretty spotty service.  The new guy took it upon himself to meet his customers, learn their names, learn what they liked, offered some freebies, and most importantly, REMEMBERED all this stuff the next time the author and his wife returned.  Suffice to say, they return much more frequently now.

This is such a simple concept, and not just for the restaurant or hospitality industry, but for ANY business.  EVERY business.  This is not rocket science.  This is Basic Humanity 101.   If you get to know someone, they will get to know you.  If that someone is a customer who purchases product or service from you, they will purchase more from you the better you get to know them, and they get to know you.

For some reason, this common sense idea is often overlooked in the business world.  Not enough effort is made, because not enough thought is put into it.  Not enough incentive is created for the customer-facing personnel to make this effort – something that they would likely do instinctively in their own home – at their job. 

Management needs to decide how they want their customers treated, right down to the specifics.  Then they need to reward the employees who treat their customers in this way.  And they need to NOT reward any other kind of treatment of their customers.  This is the tricky part: drawing the line in the sand between ideal service behavior and everything else.  Businesses who are serious about retaining customers long term will take this to heart.  Businesses who don't get it will not want to raise the fuss and risk causing resentment between the unrewarded employees and the ones who get rewarded for doing the right thing.  Those businesses will continue to get spotty service delivery from their employees, and will not generate customer loyalty.

  — Chuck Dennis

3 Comments

  1. Posted April 22, 2009 at 11:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    You write very well.

  2. Posted September 8, 2010 at 2:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Good customer service is an integral part of business. It affects important brand and business objectives like customer satisfaction, loyalty, retention, repeat purchase, up selling and usage revenue. The more you can relate to your customers the better your customer retention rate will be.

  3. Posted April 7, 2011 at 4:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for mentioning my post. You are so right – business is personal and the more personal the better. As the Godfather said correctly (in the book, not the movie) “It’s all personal, every bit of business.”

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