Grow Your Business by Developing a“Hug” Your Customer Mentality

Believe it or not, conventional business theory states that there are only three ways for a business owner to increase revenues and grow their businesses:

  1. Get new customers
  2. Sell more services or products to their present customer base
  3. Encourage their present customer base to buy more often

Well, I would like to add a fourth method to the list and the one that I believe is the most important.  Drum roll please … number 4 is … retain your present customers by developing and implementing a hug your customer mentality in order to keep them loyal to your business so that they don’t defect to the competition.

So, here’s the new list:

  1. Get new customers
  2. Sell more services or products to their present customer base
  3. Encourage their present customer base to buy more often
  4. Retain your present customers by developing a hug your customer mentality

Let’s think about the above list for a minute. .  . . three out of the four ways to grow your business have absolutely nothing to do with getting new customers, so maybe I’m on to something here.  Three out of the four, #2, #3 and #4 have to do with strategies for working with the present customer base of a business.

I believe that if you consistently practice #4, retaining your present customers by ‘hugging’ them, then #2 and #3, selling more services or products and getting your customers to buy more often will follow automatically.

Why it’s important to retain your customers

There’s a bunch of stats on the difficulty in getting new customer versus keeping your present customer happy, but the bottom line is that is much more difficult to obtain new customers especially in a challenging economic environment than to keep your existing customers happy.

What is a hug your customer mentality?

The “hug your customer mentality” was coined by Jack Mitchell in his book, Hug Your Customers, The Proven Way to Personalize Sales and Achieve Astounding Results. Mitchell is the CEO of Mitchell/Richards a chain of very successful clothing stores in Connecticut.

The hug your customer mentality is a method where business owners adopt and practice methods for creating long-lasting and loyal customer relationships.  At the heart of this method is that the relationship-building is the key to success and is accomplished  by a series of consistent ‘hugs’ to demonstrate that you appreciate and respect the fact that someone has decided to do business with your company.

Here are some things you can do to immediately implement a “hug your customer mentality” into your business today:

  1. Appreciate your customers for doing business with your company – Something as simple as sending a card, letter or note with a message of appreciation along with a special offer for “customers only”.
  2. Respect your customers – treat your customers exactly they way you would like to be treated . . .  really practice the Golden Rule.
  3. Listen to your customers – survey your customers on a regular basis to determine what they want from a business that does what you do.  Then DO IT!  This is why you’re in business.
  4. Create the proper expectations – relationships are a two-way street.  Your customers want to know what to expect from your business.  Let them know.
  5. Be Responsive – If there is some issue, deal with it immediately.
  6. Make it easy to do business with your company – life is difficult enough, make it easy to engage with your company.
  7. Deliver Results – Do what you promised.  And if this isn’t accomplished to your customer’s satisfaction, get it right!
  8. Train employees – if your customers will engage with employees, make sure they are trained properly to practice all the above.

If you develop a hug your customer mentality your happy, loyal customers will purchase from you more, purchase additional products or services and refer you to others more often.

To your marketing success,

Joe

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