Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. And they’re always glad you came. It is a special business that can make you feel an abundance of welcomeness as soon as you walk in the door. Granted, I don’t want to get this at all stores. It would creep me out if I walked into Walmart and all of the 17 cashiers looked over and yelled, “PAM!” as if I were the regular about to sidle up to the photo lab bar stool.
But there are many places that I do appreciate the recognition. And it just takes a little effort by those businesses organizing contacts to provide that abundant welcome. My dog groomer greets me and my puppy, Beau, by name. The receptionist at the gym, the barista with the blue hair and the especially nice gentlemen who cut my grass. They not only remember my name, they tend to say it with enthusiasm. It feels good.
Small business sales are all about the relationships. But it is not just local service businesses that can show this personal respect. Whenever I write into the support team at Zapier they pick right up where we left off the conversation. I don’t really think that everyone at L.L. Bean or Life is Good know me personally (though I shop at both enough), but they sure make me feel like they do. Where big businesses use a CRM (customer relationship management) product to force sales on beleaguered prospects, small business CRM is about organizing contacts to treat and serve them better.
And it starts with remembering a name.
Why should you do it?
Really, you have to ask? You obviously did not have Mrs. Vaughn as your first-grade teacher. Or Aretha “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” Franklin on your radio.
It shows respect. It is such a small thing, but it means so much. Knowing someone’s name whether they walk in your store, call you on the phone or comment on your Facebook page, says you are taking the time to make a connection, not just getting on to the next person.
It builds customer loyalty beyond what a card and a coupon can do. If clients feel that you are personally invested in them, even the smallest amount, they are more likely to stay personally invested in your business. They want you to succeed, so they will go the extra mile to tell you what they like about your services and what they want you to do differently.
- It helps you learn more about your customers and your business. The familiarity of using a first name when talking to someone puts you both on a level playing field and opens the opportunity for some candid feedback.
How can you do it?
OK, we had you at hello. But it is not always so easy to remember names, no matter how many fish oil pills you take. We all need a little help, and Batchbook can help you organize contacts and keep track of the personal connections, so your clients feel they are treated right.
Some helpful tips for customer connecting:
- Review upcoming appointments list at the start of the day. If you are a service business, you will know who has a reservation/appointment to come in that day. Spend a few minutes each morning clicking through the customer profiles for each appointment for a reminder of the names that go with the faces and any information that might be relevant to the visit (food allergies, pet’s names, plants bought last visit, etc.).
- Quick search before responding on social. If someone comments on your Facebook page that they love your new book, take a quick look at their profile to see if they’ve already joined your fan club so you don’t turn them off if they’ve been a loyal reader for the past 7 years.
- Picture flashcards before attending a networking event. You know there will be many of the same folks you met last time at the Chamber event or trade show coming to the next one, so use your customer flashcards to click through everyone you met last time and recall the conversations you had before you go again.
- Keep your contacts in your phone. Your phone has this handy way of telling you who is calling before you even answer the call. Keep your top clients stored in your phone so you can greet them with a “Hi Pam, great to hear from you” the next time they call.
My son has severe food allergies. We recently joined a neighborhood pool club. We were having lunch at the clubhouse and as soon as we sat down the manager comes over and tells him which of the items on the specials menu are off limits to him. I can not tell you the impact that had on both him and me. This is an 11-year-old kid who has spent his life constantly asking, re-asking and reminding food service staff of the items on their list that can kill him. This is the first time either of us has had someone proactively address his allergies before he even needed to ask. Best meal we’ve ever eaten (and the food was good, too). And it is all because they’ve taken the time to collect the information, keep it somewhere easily accessible and use it every time we visit the club.