Friday, February 12, 2016

Show Your Customers Some Love this Valentine’s Day!

Customer acquisition cost – the cost you pay to bring in each new customer – is one of the most frequently discussed metrics by business advisors and in entrepreneurial articles.  Sources vary in their statistics, but the consensus is that on average, it costs somewhere between four and ten times more to find and sell to a new customer than to a current one.

It is also widely understood that people like to be acknowledged and appreciated.  Dale Carnegie’s second principle of human relations directs us to “show honest and sincere appreciation.”  He says, “Nothing else so inspires and heartens people as words of appreciation.”

Like many consumers out there, I am much more likely to return to a business where I feel wanted.  I realized this just the other day when the local pizza joint owner personally thanked me and told me he appreciated my business, as he does every time I visit.  I remember this every pizza night when I have to choose between a handful of equidistant options.

It’s just a nice, warm and fuzzy feeling when someone says “thank you” and really means it.  Statistics show this as well. It has been widely reported (according to the U.S. Small Business Administration and U.S. Chamber of Commerce) that 68 percent of customers who leave a business do so because they are not happy with the treatment they’ve received, or feel that the business doesn’t care about them.

Small businesses are fortunate (finally!) to be in a better position than our larger competitors when it comes to customer appreciation.  We get to know our customers by name, we support (and often share) their local interests, we notice when we get a new e-newsletter subscriber, and we love seeing an extra “like” or “share” on Facebook.  Yet for some reason, many of us tend to invest our marketing dollars into reaching new customers before appreciating – and thereby retaining – our current customers.

Valentine’s Day serves as a good reminder to us to show some love where it is due!  Whether you host a customer appreciation event, send a personal note, invite clients to a helpful seminar, or recognize a customer on social media (with consent, of course!), there are many ways you can express to customers that their business and loyalty are valued.  So this Valentine’s Day, take the opportunity to tell your customers how much you love them!

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