So what type of relationship do we have with our customers? If you are a dentist, optometrist or chiropractor reading this then you probably have a close relationship…but what about a dental laboratory?
Dental labs work remotely, and often make little effort to get out to see their customers…how mad is that, huh!
Well here is a simple way to think about categorising customers….and this works for ALL professions
It was developed in the early ’90s by M Christopher as a way of representing a ladder that customers may ascend as an organisation gains their loyalty. So much of the time we spend our marketing activity on the lowest end, the prospects. We send out excellent marketing to get them interested in our services and work hard to convert them to a customer.
Bt once they are a customer we tend to forget about them, from a marketing point of view.
But as this ladder shows there is a long way to go ABOVE simply being a customer. Wouldn’t it be great if our customers turned in to supporters? Always there for us.
But an advocate must surely be the ultimate goal…to have our customers raving about us and telling everyone else about us. A great place to be.
This is not going to happen guys if we forget about marketing to our customers; we need to be actively moving them up this ladder, we need to be encouraging their loyalty and working hard to turn them in to advocates.
So what are you going to do about this then? What can be done to move people UP that ladder?
Well, start by communicating, taking some time to ask what they really want… and believe me what we THINK our customers want is not always what the ACTUALLY want. Take them out for dinner or coffee and talk.
Thank them, send a card to say “thanks for spending all that money with me”…the words ‘thank you’ go a long way.
Provide an exceptional service. No I mean EXCEPTIONAL. Look at what the competition does and don’t do that…that’s the same….they can go there and get that…be exceptional, dig deep to find your unique selling point, then let everyone know. THEN you are unique and THEN you get better loyalty and your customers move up that ladder.
Read blogs of people that know. Chris Barrow is an excellent example of this, read his blog and learn.
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Keep in touch, try one of these innovative and simple ways:
Christopher, M., Payne, A. F. T. and Ballantyne, D. (1991) Relationship Marketing: Bringin Quality, Customer Service