The relationship you have with your customers is a lot like dating, isn’t it?  You have to go through all the motions before they really invest anything. Even after all the hard work you put into keeping them around, you could still wake up and find them gone with no explanation.

Well, there probably is an explanation, and you just don’t want to hear it. You may have broken one of these cardinal “relationship” rules and spooked the customer into running. If you’re not ready to break up, here’s what not to do.

Call Them by Generic Nicknames

Nothing says, “I’m just not that into you” quite like forgetting your customers’ names—or worse, just never taking the time to learn them. Just like that smarmy guy with three girls on his arms—all of whom are named Honey, Baby, and Dollface—you’ll probably fool them for a short while until your customers realize that everyone is Honey, Baby, and Dollface to you.

Ignore Their Calls

After all, you’re too busy to talk to everyone, right? Plus, what could they possibly ask that your FAQ page on your website doesn’t already answer? Well, no one likes to feel ignored, so make some time to pick up the phone or respond to emails. Scorned customers will not only find a new relationship with one of your competitors, but they’ll also have some less-than-flattering words to say about you on review sites.

Forget Their Birthday

So, maybe your customers don’t mind if you forget their birthdays once in a while, but that doesn’t mean you have a free pass to be lazy about it. Invest in the relationship by presenting them with a small gift. A big discount or a small free item will keep them hanging onto your every word. And when they go out to lunch with their friends, you’ll be the only thing they talk about.

Avoid Their Friends

If you focus only on your customers and ignore their friends, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Remember those conversations they’ll have over lunch? It doesn’t matter how happy your customer is; if their friends have received better service or more attention from another company, they’ll spend the whole lunch talking your customer away from you. Always get the BFF’s approval. Always.

The example below shows how a local yoga studio puts three of the above points into practice: calling me by name, remembering my birthday, and including my friends.

personalization example

Let Them Go

If a customer does break up with you, you may have way too much pride to chase after them. Bad move. There is no pride when maintaining relationships with your clients. The only thing is, a bouquet of roses isn’t going to cut it. You’ll have to pull out the big guns—the grand gesture—to bring them back to you.

So, what does that mean? Do you have to hire a skywriter or storm the press box at a football game to grab the microphone? Should you carve them an ice statue with your scissor-hands? Believe it or not, most customers consider an apology a grand gesture. Admit you messed up, apologize, and ask forgiveness. You might be surprised how many of those customers come right back.

If you have trouble managing all the aspects of your relationships with customers, you’re not alone. We’re here to give relationship advice and even help you execute your grand gestures. Just give us a call and let us know how you need help.

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