Simple Advice for Acquiring and Retaining Customers

By MARK RIFFEY, for the Flathead Beacon.

Some of the simplest advice I give is the most powerful: “Do at least one thing today to get, or keep, a client.”

It’s as simple as it sounds. Even if you can only spare 15 minutes, invest it every day doing something that attracts new clients or helps you keep the ones you have.

Here are a few ideas that can be accomplished in only a few minutes.

You could…

  • Write a blog post
  • Add another 200 words to your upcoming book (EVERY business owner needs at least one).
  • Review recent contact logs for ideas, potential problems or training needs.
  • Record a podcast
  • Design a new loyalty program or fix something about the one you have.
  • Ask someone who has never seen your website to let you watch while they try to use your website.
  • Ask one of your customers what they most value about what your company does.
  • Call a prospect who didn’t buy and ask them what turned them off to your company. Write them a thank you note (NOT AN EMAIL) afterward.
  • Follow up the “what turned you off” call with a “here’s what we did to fix that” postcard (postcards get seen)
  • Take the answer from the prior question and compare it to yours. Take action on your conclusion.
  • Create a new product or service
  • Write a thank you note to a new (or existing) customer.
  • Tweet about your favorite new product, customer, employee, industry discovery
  • Modify an existing product or service to make it easier to use.
  • Pick one thing off your customers’ pet peeve list and fix it.
  • Call one customer and talk to them about their experiences with your products, company, staff.

    In this day and age of technology, writing a personal "thank you" can score you big points withcustomers.

  • Call one customer and ask them what your company could do that would most impact their use of your products/services.
  • Call one customer and ask them what keeps them up at night, future-wise.
  • Call one customer and ask them what keeps them up at night, problems-wise.
  • Call one customer and talk to them about their next-big-thing.
  • Spend 15 minutes thinking about your next-big-thing (and take notes). This should be 100% uninterrupted time. Yes, it’s possible
  • Ask one staff member what you could do to help them become more productive.
  • Ask one staff member what needs to be fixed or improved.
  • Ask one staff member about their vision for the company and its customers. What do *they* see as the future of your business?
  • Ask your staff which meeting or other regular activity they find a complete waste of time – and what they would do instead.
  • Review your contact logs (or ask the staffer who is the first point of contact) to find out what’s on the mind of your customers these days.
  • Do something (blog, podcast, email, postcard, letter – as appropriate) to make sure your customers are informed about something you feel they should know about.
  • Mail your print newsletter (monthly is enough, but this could be the “one thing” you do on one of those 30 days)
  • Write a piece for your print newsletter
  • Decide to produce a print newsletter and design it right then (content-wise, what will it say?)
  • Make a video (for YouTube, etc) that shows people how to use a product feature they might not have seen before.

You aren’t limited to these things and they might not fix what you think you do (though I suspect they could and probably should).

Go through this list, add items you feel are missing, remove what just doesn’t make sense for your business (for example – maybe you don’t have staff, so you’d remove those items) and SCHEDULE these items into your daily calendar for yourself and/or the appropriate staff.

Make sure your entire staff knows why these things are being added to the daily To-Do list. They are strategic. They are about turning your company around or making it better and ensuring that their paychecks continue to clear. They are not “busy work” or just another trick or tactic to “get more followers”.

These are the kinds of things that start to build trust in places where you weren’t already doing so. Trust is one of the things that makes people drive past the coupons-every-day place to your place.

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Want to learn more about Mark or ask him to write about a business, operations, or marketing problem? See Mark’s sitecontact him on Twitter, or email him atmriffey@flatheadbeacon.com.

Check out the Flathead Beacon archive of all of Mark’s blogs.