Do Your Customers Know You Love Them?

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I’m reading a book about Latonia, Kentucky right now. It’s where I grew up.  A couple of chapters are devoted to stories and images of small businesses in the town and how they served their customers.

My grandparents owned and operated a jewelry store in Latonia that my great-grandfather started in the 20’s. As I read the book I was reminded by the way my grandparents nurtured their customers. They would (mostly my grandmother) would send handwritten notes to those who made purchases thanking them for their patronage.  They also sent birthday and anniversary greetings. If they saw an engagement announcement in the paper they would cut it out, laminate and mail it to the bride’s family with a congratulatory note. Railroaders needed to have their watches regulated (I guess at some point trains ran on time) and they would mail timely reminders to the engineers and yardmen.

Nurturing relationships with customers is the surest path to maximizing the lifetime value of those relationships.   While my grandmother kept a card file of names and addresses, we can utilize data mining and automated delivery systems to stay in front of our customers.  And because my grandparents’ customer universe was small, they knew those personally who traded with them .  Today, we have sophisticated profiling tools today that help us know our customers and enable customizing communications based on those understandings. 

Occasionally it’s good to look back to see where you can go.

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