Business owners and managers are often confronted with being able to differentiate between obtaining customers, as opposed to maintaining and servicing clients. Basically, a customer is someone who purchases something, or uses some service, without commitment or serious consideration of maintaining any type of serious commitment or allegiance. On the other hand, a client generally feels a greater kinship and connection, and therefore, often becomes the type of word-of-mouth ambassador, who is usually one’s greatest source of referrals and references. Great management realizes how important it is, to transform customers to clients, in order to become sustainable and profitable. Whether a product or a service is being offered, clients become repeat customers, and this conversion process eases the process of constantly searching, spending time, money and other resources, because the lifetime revenue per client, is significantly greater than per customer. Here is a mnemonic approach to developing CLIENTS.
1. Change your focus; create a bond; truly care: Wouldn’t it make sense to spend far more time servicing and satisfying happy clients, than constantly needing to obtain disposable customers? This requires changing your focus and approach, and caring enough to create a connection or bond, that develops a loyalty from your clientele!
2. Learn about them; let them know/understand you care about them: Customers will not become clients, merely because you intend to do so! Rather, the process requires a consistent approach, where you effectively listen, and serve their needs, addressing their priorities and concerns. You must communicate and articulate your message, in a way that comforts and connects!
3. Integrity; ideas; integral: You can’t fake it, but rather your integrity must be absolute! How will your ideas benefit others? Why should others feel, your business, etc, is integral, and important, for them?
4. Energize; earn respect; empathy: Others become energized and enthusiastic, when you proceed with a high degree of inspiration energy. Don’t merely do anything, but do so, with empathy and caring! Don’t expect, but rather earn their respect!
5. Needs-oriented; develop a niche: A great manager learns from the successes and/or failures of other, similar organizations. However, no business should aim to merely become a mirror-image, or carbon-copy of another, but rather should develop, communicate and articulate its specific niche, and do so effectively, and with a purpose that attracts others, to want to do business with you. This may be factors such as: individual/personal service; quality; selection; options, etc.
6. Treatment; take care; timeliness: Ask yourself if you are treating those you do business with, the way you’d want to be treated? Do you take the time, and make the effort, to create an optimal experience? How timely and relevant are your products, efforts, and/or services?
7. Satisfy; strengthen; solve: What will you do, to not only provide some service, or sell some product, in order to create a higher/better level of quality and satisfaction? How can you make your company, etc., stronger and more relevant? Will you become a major component in the solution, or merely an extension of the proverbial, problem?
Most companies fail to differentiate between customers and clients, at least until, it become dangerously late, or crisis-ready! Will you make them your CLIENTS?