Get to know your customers
Having a good relationship with your customers is good practice for encouraging customers to return, but it actually does so much more than simply driving repeat business. Knowing your customers can be tremendously profitable, no matter what industry or market you work in.
Why you should get to know your customers
Having knowledge of your customers gives you an insight into the way they work. If a customer pays on delivery, you can be reasonably sure of their money, whereas if a customer tends to quibble over every item on the invoice, delays making their payment until the very last minute, and always expects more for their money than anyone else, you could consider tightening terms and conditions before you do business with them again.
Building up a customer list of known and trusted customers can stand you in good stead for the future, enabling you to avoid poor prospects and embrace preferred customers.
How to get to know your customers
With some businesses, the only way you get to know your customers is by doing business with them. However, you can encourage engagement with your customer base by asking them to sign up for a newsletter or promotional emails, or else by asking them to fill in short surveys so you can ascertain the level of engagement that they are looking for.
Customers do like to feel special, so personalised email offers can work very well. Just be mindful that they are also quite busy, and that they are unlikely to want your products or services every day; moderation in your promotional contacts is a must.
Once you have dealt with a customer more than twice, you can truthfully claim that you have a business relationship. It is then up to you to use your initiative as to whether you should offer them extended terms, loyalty discounts or other tokens to acknowledge this status.
What to do when it all goes wrong
Very occasionally, things go wrong. A previously good customer can suffer a change of fortune and no longer be able to pay their bills. If this is a short-term blip, likely to resolve itself soon, you can choose to waive interest charges or missed payment penalties, especially if they are honest with you about their reasons for non-payment. However, should they continue to struggle and perhaps become evasive, you may have to take steps to protect your own business.
This will usually be by handing over the outstanding debt to debt recovery services who work intensively to retrieve monies owed. Debt recovery agents have the time, know-how and resources to trace defaulters and make contact through doorstep collections agents. Because of this, a debt collection agency can have a very high success rate.
Sending debts to collections services is never an easy decision to make. But sometimes it is the only solution. First Capitol Collections is a surefire and reliable way to retrieve your outstanding money. They specialise in door-to-door debt recovery but offer a varied range of other debt services too.