Treat Your Customer Like You Would Treat Your Best Friend


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“What a ridiculous concept,” you may be thinking after reading the title of this post. But is it so ridiculous? In today’s hyper-connected, consumer-powered world, people demand a stronger relationship with the brands that they interact with. And it recently occurred to me that the same rules that govern your relationship with your ‘best friends’ can also be applied to the relationship you have with your best customers. (Obviously, you’re going to have to humor me a bit on this one.)

Customers Want You To Know Who They Are – It’s true, today, customers expect to be considered as individual people, and don’t want to be mass marketed to. They expect an offer to refer to something they are interested in, and won’t be too happy if they receive an offer that has nothing to do with their past spending behavior. “You should have known better (Insert Brand Here)!” It works the same way with your best friend. I expect my best friend to know me enough that my birthday present has some personal value (concert tickets to Hootie and the Blowfish as opposed to Nickelback – you know I won’t like that!)

But Don’t Pry Too Much – Which brings us to my next point. Customers want you to know who they are, but there is definitely a limit to the personalization that is acceptable before the thought of “Big Brother” starts creeping into a customer’s mind. Just like your best friend wouldn’t be too pleased if he/she caught you snooping through their diary, customers don’t want brands to know EVERYTHING about them. In business, as in personal relationships, finding that optimal line is a challenge.

Contact Enough, But Not Too Much – No matter how strong a friendship is, everyone needs some space once in a while. You need to have other peer groups, other things going on in your life. A friendship can go stale quickly if one party is too ‘clingy.’ Here, we can apply the same principle to marketing. Customers don’t want to be contacted too much, and once they feel like that’s the case, you will lose them quickly. On the other hand, they do want to be talked to (in most cases). Neglecting your customers can have the same detrimental impact as contacting them too much. Again, striking a perfect balance is the tough part. Click Here for a useful webinar on timing from Hubspot.

Exclusivity is Key – Why would you call someone your ‘Best’ friend? Because they give you the most value out of your peer group. They are there when times are tough just as much as when times are good. For that reason, you share a ‘higher’ connection with them. If you got free tickets to a baseball game, wouldn’t you offer the other ticket to your best friend first? As marketers, we have to do the same for our best customers. Give them a discount when they aren’t expecting it. Share free content with them just to say – “Hey, we appreciate you.” Make them feel special. If we assume that our top customers provide a majority of our business (which they do), then it is in our best interest to keep them happy.

Clearly, most of our customers are going to be very different than our friends (Unless you’ve got a really odd work/life balance). However, I think it is a useful exercise to consider the connections I’ve discussed above when we are communicating with our customers. It might make us think twice about some of our efforts. What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Bill Connolly
As Marketing Analyst for Quaero, Bill is responsible for sales and business development support and market research and analysis. Bill has completed projects for several industry-leading organizations, including Fidelity, National Grid, Cumberland Farms, Citigroup, HomeGoods and the New England Patriots and developed a brand campaign for NASA.



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