With the daily influx of new technology and an ever-changing approach to modern business practices, more and more business owners are turning toward innovative tactics to help their companies grow. Although innovation is the fuel of the future, some of the most reliable ways for a startup company to grow their business are through methods that are tried and true. Clienteling is one example of an age old business strategy that is still relevant today.
Clienteling can be defined as building and managing relationships with customers through ongoing contacts and rapport. Some businesses may send out personalized thank you notes or promotional updates to clients or customers who have patronized the business before. Many businesses keep profiles on their valued clients with information on their preferences, family and important dates to remember. These things help the client feel like an individual who adds value to the company and keeps them coming back. One way that clienteling can be effective is through the creation of repeat business. These days, not many businesses are exclusive in the products they carry or the services they offer. This means that a customer always has a choice of who they want to do business with. So what makes a customer keep going back to the same place to get something that they can realistically get elsewhere? The service. People become loyal to a business who takes the time to understand their needs, their preferences and their individual personalities. Companies that have the highest rate of repeat customers understand this and are successful because they continue with this strategy even after the business begins to expand.
Repeat business from a loyal client base can also lead to expansion by word of mouth. If a customer is pleased with the service they received somewhere, then they are likely to speak positively about it. Contrarily, if a customer receives bad service, or service that is mediocre, they are likely to give that feedback to others as well. For clients who know that their business is of value to a company, an opportunity to speak highly of that company’s employees and practices precedes the opportunity to speak of a specific product or service that they offer. One person tells three people and before long that company has a steadily growing client base through referrals as well as any other marketing strategy that they use.
The last way that clienteling can help grow a business may not be as apparent as the other two but can be just as effective. The longer a customer is loyal to a company, the more familiar they get with what the company offers, its history and changes that it is looking to make. As someone who has a better understanding of that company than someone who has never visited, they are a good resource of information and can give an informed opinion when necessary. For example, if the company is looking to add a new vendor or line of products, the person can weigh in on their ideas and experiences having frequented the business. These loyal clients can be an unexpected ally to a growing business.
Clienteling, although an age-old tactic, is one that even the most forward-thinking companies look toward because it is one that has withstood the test of time. All businesses, including those that are Internet-based, Mom & Pop stores or even Fortune 500 companies actively build their client base. After all, a business is only as strong as its patrons.