Preparing for Good Customers
There are some teams at Microsoft that seem to naturally understand what it means to be ready for good customers, but there are others that should read this from Church of the Customer.
Eight ways to prepare for good customers:
1. Have a customer communication system - Allow customers to update their contact information easily on your website. Send a regular email newsletter to your customer list, no less than once a month.
2. Acknowledge customer correspondence - Send handwritten notes to customers thanking them for their letter. No one wins points for form letters with <name inserted here>.
3. Reward constructive criticism - Encourage customers to provide constructive feedback. Make your contact information (phone number, email address, etc.) easy to find on your website. Send customers a small gift for taking the time to send their suggestions.
4. Profile complimentary customers - Include customer testimonials on your website and in your newsletters. Link to customers' blog posts that mention you.
5. Publish a blog - 'Nuff said.
6. Gather feedback often - Instead of the once-a-year lengthy customer satisfaction survey, send short, 5-question surveys via email to various customer segments once per quarter. Tell customers how you are incorporating their feedback to improve your product or service.
7. Track referrals - Ask every new customer or even newsletter subscriber "how did you hear about us?" Use tools like Technorati and PubSub to track what people are saying online about you.
8. Reward loyal customers - Track the purchase history of your customers. Take care of frequent purchasers not with points or discounts but with a gift product. Or an invitation to a customer advisory board. If you know the customer personally, give them something you know they'll really like.