We are all creatures of habit. My family is no different. Almost every week we order the same thing from the same pizza shop in my small hometown. We call ahead and head down to pick up our order. I walk in, smile and pay for my order. The food is really, really good.
This past week, however, I learned an important business lesson.
As I walked up to the counter the owner of the shop looked at me like I was a complete stranger which I was in his mind.
He said, “Can I help you?”
I had to tell him my name and what I ordered for the hundredth time even though I give him my hard earned money each and every week.
It really ticked me off and I’m not going back anytime soon. There are plenty of pizza shops and that one isn’t the cheapest.
If you want to keep customers do this:
1. Learn their damn names
Pardon my language but seriously, if you are getting repeat business from a customer then they are very important to you. You have a fan! Learn their names. You want more people just like them. Don’t push them away by treating them like you’re doing them a favor. I don’t care what business you are in – you have competition.
The same goes for email or any other place where your customer will see their name.
2. Spell their name correctly
All of my life my name has been misspelled. I’ve learned to live with it until it comes to making a decision about a company that I’m on the fence about doing business with.
This past year we had to hire an exterminator because, of all things, we had a moth problem. They loved us so much that they just wouldn’t go away. We called Orkin and paid for an entire year upfront (not cheap). It took awhile but all of the moths were eventually evicted.
During our tenure with Orkin they showed up late (or not at all), charged us even though we prepaid, and were basically pretty terrible all around. Man, they had a good commercial on TV though!
It’s renewal time. I got the bill and guess what? My name was spelled wrong. I wasn’t even on the fence with this company but this just drove the nail in the casket for Orkin.
3. Remember that getting customers is hard
Anyone who thinks growing a business is easy is fooling themselves. It’s hard work. It takes time and even with the greatest of products it is very difficult to get people to part with their hard-earned money.
When you do get a new customer treat them as the special gem that they are! The longer you keep them the more valuable they are!
4. Don’t take customers for granted
Another foolish thing to do is believe there will always be more customers. Years ago I had a web hosting business that had steady growth. It was good healthy growth. I became spoiled and when someone would quit I’d brush it off and not give a hoot. I figured what the heck, we’re signing up new customers every month.
The pipeline ran dry of new customers and the old ones continued to quit. Not because of bad service but mostly because of the economy. At any rate, I should have stopped the customers that were leaving and asked them specifically why they were leaving. That would have allowed us to adjust with the changing economic climate.
My pizza shop experience has been a good eye opener this week. Because of it I’m reminded that each and every one of our customers are special and need to be treated that way. I vow to treat each existing and new customer of Mokumax with that respect and value. Thanks pizza man – PS. I won’t be visiting your shop for a while.
PPS. Check out Growing Our Company By 10,000% in 2016.
Thanks for reading!