Do you remember the days when you could service your own car? Our first car was a classic Singer Gazelle, and I was forever under the bonnet or applying heaps of filler to combat the encroaching rust. I knew every part of the engine, and I used to enjoy changing the oil, cleaning the plugs, adjusting the tappets.
How times have changed! I now own a Citroen C4 – not a classic car, but I like it and it has been very reliable. However, opening up the bonnet reveals a different world. Where are the spark plugs, where does the oil go, and what is that strange cover over the engine? The days of do-it-yourself servicing are long-gone, unless you are a really dedicated petrol head.
So I’m very reliant upon a local garage for my servicing and general repairs. The garage isn’t a Citroen dealer or specialist, so why do I continue to go there? It’s because I always get excellent service. If a light bulb blows then it’s never too much trouble to put in a replacement, no matter what time during the working day I turn up. I am treated with respect, and my phone calls are always returned within 24 hours.
As internet marketers, we need to develop similar relationships with our customers. Once on your list they deserve to be treated with respect, and contact needs to be courteous and maintained. In my teaching job I expect my staff to return phone calls and emails within 24 hours. Parents are always so pleased to get a rapid response, and many potential problems are quickly resolved.
We need to remember that our customers are individuals, and they need to feel valued. If you’re going to build a list then you need to accept the responsibility that goes with it. Return those emails promptly, be polite and understanding, and try to see the customer beyond the anonymous email address.
I recommend my garage wherever I go. I will quite happily distribute leaflets in my staffroom, and they will always have my custom. Why? – because they have taken the trouble to build and maintain a working relationship with me, and I know that I can trust them. Can the customers on your list say the same thing about you?