September 14/21; Volume 30/Number 7
By Lisbeth Calandrino
If you don’t treat your customers the right way, it will kill your business. Flooring dealers tend to make assumptions about customers that end up dramatically hurting their businesses. If you or your staff are guilty of any of the following mistakes, it would be wise to correct them.
- “One size fits all” in email marketing. This does not work. In fact, it never did. Isn’t that what newspapers are for? Today, email marketing requires sophisticated segmentation of different customers who have different needs.
- Treating some customers better than others. Years ago you might have been able to get away with this, but not today. These days, with social media ruling the universe, it would be wise to treat each customer as if she mattered. A customer can trash your business over a missing invoice if she chooses to do so.
- Thinking every customer is a customer for life. Many businesses believe the customer will never forget them. Pleasing the customer doesn’t get you many brownie points because it is simply expected. You will have to go out of your way if you want her to remember you.
- “Out of sight, out of mind.” Or, the customer who has been sold doesn’t matter anymore. Although more than 85% of most business comes from referrals, flooring dealers do little to make them happen. Think about how much you have on your mind and the decisions you make during the day; do you have time to remember every salesperson you run into? Be proactive in getting referrals.
- Waiting days to settle a claim or customer service issue. This is something you cannot overlook. You have plenty of competition, so you cannot afford to ignore an unhappy customer. If you aren’t sure if you have an outstanding complaint, perform a Google search for your business and see what shows up.
- Believing you shouldn’t invest money in social media. Many businesses have a social media presence but do little with it. They think that having a Facebook page is the end of it. In reality, having a Facebook page is just the beginning; you have to work at it to make sure it pays off. Getting “likes” is not enough; you need comments and interactions with your customers if you’re going to get those valued referrals. “Likes” don’t translate to referrals, but a customer who brags about your product and service will. Your 14-year-old granddaughter may be able to help build a Facebook page, but it’s doubtful she can build a marketing plan around it.
- Thinking LinkedIn doesn’t matter to your business. LinkedIn is the professional way to network. Building your connections and writing a blog can be very useful, as well. Write about buying product and the best ways to go about it. This will establish you and your employees as the experts in your field. Build profiles for your employees and teach them how to build a network; you never know when a connection will lead you to a profitable job.
- Not following up with sold customers. Many salespeople forget about a customer once she is sold. Even though they have already bought from you, these customers can also generate more profit if they decide to work on more rooms in their homes. I suggest sending personal, handwritten notes to thank your customers and stay relevant.