Retaining Your Clients, Customers, and Suppliers: Finding Out What They Really Think

What do your clients, customers, and suppliers really think about your company and how easy it is to do business with you?   How do you solicit that type of feedback? When you receive it how do you use the information to make your business better and to increase loyalty?

A company I used to do business with routinely sent me a customer survey at the end of each transaction. I was so “vocal” with my complaint on the survey that they called me personally and told me they were going to change the practice that’s an issue for me, and perhaps, other customers. After a dozen or so occurrences, I finally quit doing business with them and went to a competitor. What added insult to injury was they kept asking, and promising to change, but didn’t. They would have been better off not to ask.

Recently I’ve noticed companies I do business with are “paying” me for my opinion about their products or services. The really savvy businesses reward me with a coupon that gives me a discount on their services as an incentive for providing my feedback. This is marketing genius. They learn what they’re doing well or need to improve and increase the probability I’ll do business with them by discounting my next purchase.

Is there an opportunity for you to retain your clients, customers, and suppliers by asking what they think?

Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant. Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.

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