Don’t ever get taken for granted

There’s a lot of research to prove that “reciprocity” works; give somebody something, and they feel inclined to give you something back. This could include choosing you as a supplier. Sadly, the days of sending prospects and customers large gifts has passed, and even inviting them to corporate hospitality seems to be frowned on in most sectors. We’re left with having to use more practical, and much less glamorous, offerings.

One of these is technical information. Some companies have traditionally used this brilliantly to target prospects as well as customers. Think of those excellent semi-independent guides to technical standards which have been produced over the years. Others have kept such technical information as a customer retention device, some even developing customer-only publications.

But nowadays, the pressure is on to provide this sort of information to everyone – not just customers. What’s known simply as “content” has become one of the most effective marketing channels available, thanks to the ease of dissemination online. Your website needs to position your company as an authority in its field, and original technical content does just that.

So what can replace technical content as a closed-community offering which will keep customers loyal? There are many things, some of which you might do already. For example, it’s surprising how many businesses offer free lifetime technical support, but forget to actually publicise the fact. I remember once getting a “credit card” from a supplier with its technical support phone number on it, and a note saying: “just in case you ever need us”. Of course I knew how to contact them, but it reminded me what a helpful outfit they were, and all these years later, I remember it.

Here at this business, we’re always thinking about services which we can offer to our clients which might make them feel that by using us, they get more than they would elsewhere. Over the years, we’ve added things like website availability monitoring, so we can let clients know if their websites go down, and Google position monitoring, so we can let them know if there are any sudden changes in Google ranking. There’s loads of other stuff too. None of it requires us to take on extra staff, but we like customers to feel that “we’ve got their backs covered” and we’re a useful part of the team.

Are there additional helpful services which you could offer your clients without overstretching your resources? Are there any you’re already offering but forgetting to publicise? Don’t ever get taken for granted.

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