Here are 5 simple ways you can prioritize your high-value customers, despite your busy schedule.
1. Proactively check in with their satisfaction. How you treat customers is almost more important than the products you sell and the services you offer, particularly in an era of social media where customers can publicly express their pleasure—or pain—about their experience with a company within seconds. In fact, one survey by Aspect Software revealed that 76% of consumers view the service they receive from a company as the real indicator behind whether their business is valuable.
Make it a priority to reach out to your high-value customers proactively, even if it’s with a quick email or voicemail. Ask how things are going, and what could be done better. If you don’t hear from them, you’ve made the effort, and left the impression that you care about their business enough to take the initiative. If you do hear from them, you can diffuse a bad situation personally, before it spirals out of control.
2. Support their charitable efforts. Customers want to feel like the business they support will do the same in return. If your company offers charitable support to different organizations and nonprofits, consider whether you can direct those funds to the organizations and charities your high-value customers support. The effort will likely cost your company very little, but the attention your high-value customers feel as a result will have a lasting effect.
3. Give them your time. Publicly traded companies offer shareholders the opportunity to attend annual meetings for reasons that extend far beyond legal and compliance mandates: People who give a company money want to feel a connection to the people making the decisions about how it’s used. As the CEO, you are that person. Host a recurring special event every few months for your valued customers to communicate your interest in having a relationship. Keep the interaction genuine. Mingle like you’re not the CEO. Let your guard down and talk to them like they’re not your customers—but rather, casual friends. Not only will they appreciate getting to know you “beyond the suit,” you’ll likely form deeper connections that will equip your business to weather any service issues with them that may arise in the future.
4. Be likable on social media. When President Barack Obama takes to social media, it immediately makes news headlines. His tweets aren’t newsworthy simply because he’s addressing the American public—it’s because the idea of the President doing something so many “regular Joes” do makes him relatable.
A CEO who lets his/her guard down enough to be candid and likable on social media can have the same impact. If your high-value customers are on a certain social media channel, be there too. It’s an instant way to connect, and says you care about what they’re doing enough to follow suit.
5. Ask for their help. A customer service study by NewVoiceMedia revealed that poor customer service costs companies a whopping $41 billion a year—and that 53% of customers include “bad customer service” as simply feeling unappreciated. People want to feel like they matter. Solicit your customers’ opinions, if you’re developing a new product, a new service model, or considering a new policy. Not only will you get free market research from the people whose satisfaction matters most, they’ll feel appreciated in the process.
These simple tips take less than an hour a week to put into action, but can keep CEOs connected with the very people who dictate success or failure. With the connections and information these interactions present, you might even find that you’re better equipped to make informed decisions as a leader that keeps business moving forward.