Customer Base | Unskippable - Marketing Keynote Speaker - Jim Kukral

Category Archives for "Customer Base"

My Customers Will NEVER Use Social Media!

jfk_lookIn my presentation called “Beyond the Website” (watch here) I have a slide that says this.

“The Internet is for kids and geeks, and MY customers will never be online.” – Unnamed 1990’s executive.

I don’t remember where I found that quote online, and I have no idea if it’s real or not (I bet it is). But I love it because it illustrates the short-sighted approach that many people take when emerging trends and technologies grab the hearts and minds of the world.

The thing is, people are still saying that quote, but today they’re inserting social media in place of “the Internet”. You know, things like Twitter, and Facebook and Myspace and all the rest. All of those things are just for kids and geeks… right.

Let’s redo the quote for effect. You know you know somebody like this.

“Social media is for kids and geeks, and MY customers will never use social media.” – Unnamed executive.

At this point I could go on and on about how that’s a big fail waiting to happen, and most surely a pink slip for the person who said it down the road as their business lags behind competitors who didn’t think that way.

However… let’s not do that. Let’s prove them wrong. On another slide in my presentation I point to a BusinessWeek piece that defines the 6 types of social media users.

bizweek
BIG Image of above graphic

If you could really dig into this slide you would see that it’s not just kids that are using social media. The scale skews to younger, sure, but in fact, this data (which is two years old btw) does indeed show a major trend toward “older” people using social media in all kinds of facets.

Ignore social media at your own peril. This is your last warning!

Creating Lifetime Customers

Have you ever thought about the lifetime value of a customer? Your customers? It’s huge. If you knew that your average customer spent $1,000 with you every year, then it’s pretty easy to calculate the average amount of money they will spend at your business for the next 30 years or more.

Case in point, my local auto mechanic. They know the value of a lifetime customer. Here’s two examples to prove it.

Example #1
Last summer I took my car in before our Summer trip to have the brakes changed because I thought it was time and they were squeaking. Two hours later I got a call saying “Their is nothing wrong with your brakes, you’ve got another 10k miles on them easy, come in and pick up your car, no charge.”

That’s instant trust. At that moment I knew I’d never have to take my car anywhere again.

Example #2
Last week I took the car back in because a piece broke above the tailgate which caused us to not be able to open the back gate. My mechanic looked it over for free, and ordered the part. The part came and we dropped off the car to have it fixed. A few hours later they called to tell us to come pick up the car, however “We were able to fix it without using the part, it was easy. So we’ll send the part back and the labor only took a few minutes, come get your car.”

Are you seeing a pattern here?

Can you give me one reason why I would ever, ever take my cars to another auto shop ever again? I won’t.

That’s the power of a lifetime customer.

Here’s what happens now. I will tell everyone I know about them, and I’ll go out of my way to do it to. I’ll also never question them in the future. If they came back to me with a big price tag next year, I’d say fix it, I trust you.

Again, are you seeing it yet? Are you seeing the power of this approach?

You can build lifetime customers too, if you follow the simple rules like my auto mechanic does. Any business owner can do this, in any industry.

Stop treating your customers like you hate them, and instead, start treating them as your friends.

You’ll be amazed at the results.

If you liked this blog post, you might also be interested in this podcast I did with a customer service pro named John Dijulius.

Is It Ok To Tell Your Customer To F#%* Off?

The GM of the Cleveland Browns, yes, my Cleveland Browns (pity me) sent an email back to an irate fan the other day telling the fan to “Go root for Buffalo then. F#%* off”. Now admittedly, the fan did say he was emailing the GM and badgering him for months.

But I don’t care how you spin it. This is, at its root, telling a customer off. The GM runs the team, and the fan=paying customer.

Not good.

So there’s the question then. Is it ever ok to do this? Even in certain circumstances? If so, what are they then?

Let’s forget the Browns GM story and talk about your business. I’m sure you’ve “fired” some clients for being pains in the butt. But have you ever told a client to go blank themselves?

I haven’t, and I don’t think I ever would unless they were trying to cheat me. And if that was the case they’d get called plenty of names. :)

I don’t think that there’s anything to be positively gained by swearing at a customer, or treating a customer in any kind of way that is poor. And if they’re nothing to be gained except emotional exuberance, well… look, you’re running a business, get over it.

Let me repeat that again…

You’re running a business. You’re a professional. Act like it.

Build Your Customer Base First. Then Figure Out How To Sell To It?

web_internet_pointer_03.gifOr at least that’s what they’re saying this guy did.

He identifies a business niche or a hot growth area like commercial real estate. Then he buys domain names around the topic, saving money by shunning pricey domains for names with hyphens, such as http://www.commercial-property.co.uk/.

He builds the sites, adds content, and waits for customers. Search the phrase “commercial property” in MSN, for instance, and Carter’s site pops up on the first page, advertising that it has people eager to sell and buy commercial property. In truth, Carter has only a few contacts.

In more detail…

1. Identify an overlooked need for services kicked up by, for instance, relatively obscure regulatory changes.

2. Construct a first-rate website with a generic domain name that will draw in prospective customers.

3. With clients in hand, create the business, providing the service yourself or subcontracting to established players.

The thing about this is that it can work, and backfire. I mean, you could spend a lot of time building an audience and hoping that down the road you’re going to find a good referral partner. But what if you don’t?

I’ve always operated from the opposite direction. I first identify a good referral partner who pays what I consider to be competitive. Then I go and find out if the niche has room for growth and is broad enough, or small enough. Then, and only then will I spend time to develop something.

How do you do it?