The Forest and the Trees
One of the critical skills for an entrepreneur to succeed in the game of small business is the ability to focus. Unfortunately, that focus is sometimes placed on the wrong priority. It is easy to think about the forest and forget about the trees.
The entire mission of a small business is to find and sell to customers and clients. Once that prospect becomes a satisfied customer, they shouldn't just become an anonymous and forgotten part of the forest. In the hustle to build a market presence, it is important to not be looking at the prospects and forget about the people who are paying the bills.
It's Not by Accident
The process of taking care of and nurturing your customer base should never be an unplanned or incidental process. If you find yourself thinking, oh, I've got to give so-and-so a follow-up call, you're not using the right system. Whether you call it CRM or managing your customer database, the important thing is to have a regular and consistent process to keeping your attention on the customers you work so hard to get and satisfy.
Some specific steps you can take include:
- Stay in touch. With technology what it is today, it has never been easier to find a simple and efficient way to stay in touch with your customers. It's not an all or none proposition. Sometimes you can call, other times an email is all you need to send. A quick social media note will suffice for some clients. Because it has gotten so rare, a written note will get someone's attention these days.
- Keep it written down. No matter how great your memory, keep at least a rudimentary database on your customers. Track the key information like what products they have purchased, who they have referred to you, and any special likes and dislikes. As your business grows, this becomes even more of an essential tool.
- Maintain a presence in your customer's mind. Again, technology makes this easier than ever. Think of ways to add value to their association with you through a blog, newsletter, tweets or other social media. Keep an updated status on the important media. Avoid being intrusive, simply make it easy for them to remember you are there to help when needed.
Use your ability to focus to maintain an open line of consistent communications with your most valuable asset, your base of customers.