Customers for Keeps. 8 Powerful Strategies to Turn Customers into Friends and Keep Them Forever is a very comprehensive book that compares customers to your friends, and how relating to customers as you would a good friend can result in more new and repeat business for your company. Companies must be more customer oriented than ever, and Geller urges us to use "friendship branding" to think about our company in a human way; and to create a warm emotional bond with our customers.
Stage One: Putting a Human Face on Your Company
As buyers and consumers, it’s hard to make a human connection with most brands and companies. The more your can company can "speak" to your customers on a level that works for them, the more will want to do business with you.
Stage Two: First Impressions for a Lasting Friendship
What first impression does your company give? Do you even know? Your first impression should be extremely positive, one that truly reflects your company, and that helps build trust and friendship so your customers keep coming back.
Stage Three: How to Connect with the Right Customers
Common goals, interests and needs should help you determine the "right" customers for your company. You can’t be everything to everyone, so don’t even try. Once you have a strong consistent brand persona, you can then decide how to bring your company and product to the attention of your target market.
Stage Four: Listening to Your Customers
Actions speak louder than words. You need to understand how your customers feel, but more importantly, how they behave. Make a commitment to engage with your customers so that you gain the feedback, good or bad, you to what they want from you.
Stage Five: Sharing with Your Customers
Share crucial information such that they feel important and that you care about them. Tell them the good news (new products, lower pricing, better service) to show how you are improving and any bad news (e.g., service delays, product defects) so that they know you are working hard to fix any problems.
Stage Six: Making Customers Feel Secure
Show your customers that you value the relationship more than the sale. The sale is a first step of a loyal relationship, not the end. Treat them right, build their trust, and delivery (if not over-deliver) on your promises.
Stage Seven: Building Trust Between You and Your Customers
Take the time and make the effort to develop loyal customers who will stay with you. Give them the same consideration that you would a really good friend. And never take them for granted. Understand the entire life cycle (and total opportunity) associated with a loyal customer.
Stage Eight: Creating Friendships That Last
The best way to make customers and keep friends is to stay in touch; but on their terms, not yours. Develop a customer retention program that identifies your most valuable customers and determines why they do business with you.
Thinking about customers the same way that you would a good friend, can help your company develop lasting relationships with customers who will continue to buy from you for years to come.