Too many SMEs view customer marketing and CRM as only being of value to larger companies.
Sure, if you have 4million customers, you’ll need industrial-scale CRM. But if you have 400 customers, you still need to build profitable relationships with them.
I’ll give you two examples, both from the world of food, one good, one less so.
I’m quite passionate about the meat I buy and feed my family. I like to buy locally where I can, but, like most families, I’m on a budget (the less I spend, the less I need to charge you for my services…) The supermarkets are often – not always – cheaper than high-street butchers.
Here’s what I get in my local butchers:
- I’m greeted by name and with a smile, we’ll often make small-talk about interests we have in common (cricket, golf and, let’s be honest, the weather)
- He’ll sometimes recommend things for me
- He is an expert so I trust him to cut/butcher/bone meat for me
- He’ll occasionally chuck-in a freebie
And you know what? I actually feel GUILTY if I buy meat in the supermarket or anywhere else, even a farmer’s market – I feel like I’m being disloyal to our relationship. So I buy 90% of my meat from him.
The Butcher wins the battle through building a personal relationship that the supermarket cannot, as well as by displaying his skill.
There’s an upmarket restaurant near us – country house hotel, lovely gardens, good food… I followed them on Twitter, with occasional conversations for about a year. Finally I booked a table for my wife’s birthday. I mentioned on Twitter that I was excited about coming.
“We’re so pleased you’re going to come and see us, we hope you have a lovely meal” was their reply. All good so far…
We did have a lovely meal and a very nice evening. However, I then received no follow-up whatsoever. This restaurant has great data on me:
– My name
– My Twitter handle, who I follow, who follows me
– My mobile number
– My wife’s birthday
Here are the things they could have done to turn me from a happy customer into an advocate:
- A birthday card for my wife, or that decorated plate thing they do
- A follow-up Tweet on the Monday morning, “Hi Richard, how was your meal on Saturday? Did your wife enjoy her birthday?”
- Depending on the response to the meal, maybe a DM asking if I wouldn’t mind reviewing them on TripAdvisor
- A text, offering me a free glass of wine if I book lunch with them
- A request for my email address so they could let me know about offers and menu changes
- A text or a tweet in just under a year’s time, offering to take care of my wife’s birthday for me
It’s so important that your relationship doesn’t end once the customer has placed their order. Building that relationship will improve your customer satisfaction, repeat business, referrals and profitability.
These few ideas for increasing customer repeat and referral are just the tip of the iceberg.