Operations

Why You Need to Invest In Personal Client Relationships

Bill Faeth
Posted on December 9, 2017
(Pexels.com photo)
(Pexels.com photo)

A phone call or in-person meeting to mitigate a problem doesn’t count. Meeting up at a conference or networking event doesn’t count, either.

Why? Because it’s expected.

In today’s world, everyone wants fast and easy from Amazon to Uber. We want our items shipped next day. We want to schedule a ride for two minutes from now from an app.

But the one thing we don’t get using these on-demand business models is a personal relationship. During the State of the Industry presentation at the 2016 International LCT Show, I highlighted the value of building personal relationships with clients. Apple CEO Tim Cook validates my sentiments. Every morning, he personally replies to emails sent to him from Apple customers. It’s the first thing he does when he gets to the office after his morning workout. Every morning.

If Tim Cook sees the value in investing in personal relationships (although only through email), shouldn’t you? Apple has millions of customers, yet Tim sees the value in connecting with 20 to 30 of them every day.

Why? Because most people wouldn’t expect to receive a reply from the CEO of Apple. He is doing the unexpected to build relationships.

I can assure you after working with more than 400 limousine operators that most are not building personal relationships with their clients outside of standard phone calls and some light emailing.

This presents an opportunity for you to strengthen the relationships with your clients by going to their offices, meeting with them, and thanking them in person for being a valuable customer at zero cost. No advertising, no marketing, nothing.

I was fortunate to land the only Five Star Five Diamond hotel in Tennessee as a client in my second year of business in 2007 — something achieved after visiting them every week during the sales process as I had to convince them to switch from their current provider. Once I won the account, I continued to visit them every week to personally thank the concierge, rooms manager (Dee), front desk staff, and doorman. Every couple of months I would drop off low cost gifts like cupcakes for the staff or take the concierge to lunch to continue to invest in the relationship.

Fast forward 10 years to 2017.

Five years after, I left the industry as an operator. Dee, who is now the general manager, saw on Facebook I was taking my wife to stay at the hotel for a one night staycation to celebrate our anniversary. When we arrived, Dee had upgraded our room to a suite, booked a massage for my wife, and had a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries in the room for us. This was five years after I stopped serving her as a limousine supplier.

Why did she do this? Because of the relationship I built with her by investing the personal relationship with her and her staff.

It is six times less expensive to generate more revenue from a current client than to acquire a new one.

This is why you need to invest in your personal relationships with your most valuable clients. It makes it much easier for them to perceive your mistakes with grace and much harder to leave you for another company they don’t know.

I have practiced building relationships in all of my businesses because the most important metric for judging a business is lifetime value. The more value I can get from a client and mitigate the loss of revenue when clients leave gives me the best opportunity to grow and scale profitably.

Now, if you have ever used a competitor of yours, whether it be a limousine company or TNC, I seriously doubt they are making this investment. And that is your opportunity. At absolutely no cost.

Related Topics: Bill Faeth, building your clientele, client feedback, client markets, customer service, How To, Profit Motives, profits

Comments ( 2 )
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  • Walter

     | about 7 months ago

    Nice article Bill. This is my opinion about the relationship in my limo world. The branch of the chauffeured car hire too has been strongly influenced by technology and new apps. The mobile phone has been the first one to change quickly the way of approaching to the chauffeured car hire service, followed by smartphones, with their power and incessant internet connection. Being always connected has become essential for the branch of chauffeured car rental, but this is not enough: new apps have violently entered the “chauffeur service” world, apps which help to “robotize” many phases of the programming and service management. By the apps you can book a car in real time, interact with your own driver, see where is the car booked, pay and get payment receipts. All is easy and intuitive like a videogame. Moreover each user has a profile by which he can judge and appreciate the service. Also technology, however, has its limits. Everything could be ok for low-medium services, but for a demanding and exclusive target the experience “automation” is not enough to compete or simply satisfy the customer. So what we need.. In my modest opinion we need an experience customization, a concept that at the moment cannot be included in an algorithm. The feeling established between the driver and his passenger is an alchemy of more factors which can be contained in the sentimental, motivational, behavioural, sensational and aesthetic sphere. If to all this we add also a good know-how and welcome experience the alchemy will be successful. History and human experience are essential to manage and offer high quality services. Drivers’ role consists in welcoming their guest in the best way leading him not only in a road itinerary, but in a higher travel which surely includes the former, but that I call “ experience travel”, where beauty and style are fundamental ingredients for very demanding customers’ satisfaction.

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