Tag Archives: customer

Managing Customers in the Short Term for the Long Term

28 Jun

How do you treat long-time customers when the economy is this challenging?  Are you tightening the rules to manage costs or are you more liberal in your policies?

I went to a business that I had purchased from for many years but not over the last year.  They greeted me warmly as if I had just talked with them yesterday, with no hint of criticism or complaint in their voice.

Later that day, I went to another business that I also frequent often.  They know me well enough to recommend new products they think I’d like.  And they know I’ve referred other customers to them. I was 90 minutes late in returning an item I had rented and they wanted to charge me another full day.  It’s their policy and it’s posted.  When I asked for leniency, the owner’s reply was, “It’s our policy and you need to pay.”

The next day I received a rather large bill.  I had made a mistake in understanding the rules so the bill was correct if unwelcome.  When I asked the Accounts Payable person for some flexibility, I was flatly turned down.  When I asked to speak to the owner, I was told that he refused to discuss these issues with anyone.  “Even customers who’ve purchased from him for 20 years?” I asked.  The answer was, “Yes.”

The economy is going to get better.  I will spend more money.  I will continue to make referrals to my vendors.  Which vendor mentioned above will continue getting my business and my referrals?


Referrals Referrals Everywhere Referrals

6 Mar

Two blog postings on referrals hit my blog reader this week. Is this national referral week?

One from Paul McCord over at Sales and Sales Management Blog on developing a Referral-Based Mindset.

Another one came in from Clayton Shold’s Salesopedia where he posts a podcast from Joe Heller speaking on, “Why Referrals Work Best”

Well, of course referrals work best! They always have and always will. And in these days of caller-id and effective spam filters, it’s a wonder that any cold call or cold email lands a prospect.

But I wonder if customers are really the best place for getting referrals. They’re great at giving references (assuming you deserve them) but referrals? I’ve argued before that most customers don’t have the right DNA to actively generate referrals for you. And if you read/listen to these two new blog postings, you’ll quickly realize that generating customer-based referrals is A LOT of work. Maybe cold calling might be easier for some sales reps than these programs. Or maybe using customers for references instead of referrals is a more effective plan.