BizTips from SCORE- Creating Lifelong Customers

Creating Lifelong Customers

Customer acquisition is a very expensive part of the small business equation.  It doesn’t make sense to close a sale, service a customer, lose the customer, and then start over again with another prospect. Carl Sewell, an incredibly successful automobile dealer in Dallas, Texas, learned about hospitality from the Japanese culture, cleanliness from Disney, and politeness from his mother. He penned these “10 Commandments of Customer Service”:

  1. Bring ’em back alive. Ask customers what they want and give it to them again and again.
  2. Systems, not smiles. Saying please and thank you doesn’t ensure you’ll do the job right the first time. Only systems guarantee you that.
  3. Under promise, over deliver. Customers expect you to keep your word. So, exceed it.
  4. When the customer asks the question, the answer is almost always “yes.” Unless of course it results in losing money. Sometimes “no” is the mandatory answer.
  5. Fire your inspectors and consumer relations department. Every employee who deals with customers must have the authority to handle complaints and be responsible for their own gold medal customer service.
  6. No complaints? Something’s wrong. Encourage your customers to tell you what you’re doing wrong so you can take corrective action. 
  7. Measure everything. Professional sports teams do it. You should too.
  8. Salaries are unfair. Pay people like they are partners.
  9. Your mother was right. Show people respect. Be polite. It works.
  10. Apply Japanese practices of Kaizen – continuous improvement…

The highest job priority of every employee of every business on Cape Cod & the Islands is to create “promoters” of your business.  That comes from delighting customers and creating loyalty “fanatics”.

Contributed by Marc Goldberg, Certified Mentor. SCORE Cape Cod & the Islands., [email protected], 508/774-4884.  Sources: Stephen Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Carl Sewell, Customers for Life, Steve Curtin, Delight Your Customers. Susan Friedmann,