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Your Bank > Education and Advice > CNB University

A Lesson in Customer Appreciation

New customers. Occasional customers. Customers you’ve had since you opened. No one has to tell you that customers are the lifeblood of your business. You also don’t have to be told that letting good customers know they’re appreciated will help you keep their business.

Your “A” List

Can you identify your best customers? Categorizing your customers on the basis of sales volume, the number of orders they place, and referral business they supply should be as easy as running a few reports. If you don’t have a software system that can provide this kind of information, you might want to consider upgrading to a system that can.

Tokens of Appreciation

With your preferred customer list in hand, think of ways to show your appreciation. Certainly, giving your best customers discounts and free merchandise or services on occasion is always appropriate and appreciated. Sending handwritten notes or small, individualized gifts lets them know they’re important on a more personal basis. Making an effort to find out what is important to them outside of work and delivering on that.

You might also consider having a special sale for your preferred customers only. Be sure to mail out invitations so they know it’s a private sale. Or, think about hosting a topical seminar featuring key staff people and industry professionals. Using press releases to publicize the event, either before or after, can add to the prestige of being an invited guest.

Biggest May Not Be Best

Are there some “high maintenance” customers at the top of your list? Ones that place large orders but also demand an inordinate amount of time and resources? You might feel that customers like these don’t really deserve preferred treatment. But, at the same time, you don’t want to lose their business.

Before you decide how to handle customers like this, take a look at the bottom line. Run some numbers to see how profitable their business really is. You may find that not only are you not making enough money on their business, you may actually be losing money. In that case, you need to find a way to incorporate the cost of your efforts when billing these customers so that your profits don’t suffer.

In closing, find the best way to provide customer value to your customers. The most value could be in the form of education and advice. Know your customer and let them know they’re appreciated.

Source: Newkirk.