Where’s the Love?

How much love have you shown your current customers lately? As one of my favorite business columnists recently wrote, “Your current customers represent 100% of your income.” How often do you take the time to nurture those relationships? How much effort do you put in wooing new customers? I’ll bet you spend more time (and money) on the latter of the two. Sometimes it’s not easy – apologizing for a mistake on an order, and making up afterwards is hard work. But as we all know, relationships are not easy. If they were, everyone would be millionaires.

In the end, relationships are all we have, and showing those people that we really care takes thought and effort. Sometimes a simple “thank you” works great. Sometimes a nice handwritten note does the trick. Other times, it takes a personal visit and a face-to-face conversation. Or, in the world of retail, sometimes you have to change the retail model in order to show customers how much you love them. The key is you have to do whatever it takes to show that you care. Actions speak. Rhetoric is a hollow echo.

For instance, why is it still so very painful to plan a funeral? I’m not talking about the loss of a loved one; I’m talking about pre-planning your death. Why are funeral homes so drab, and old, and tired? My wife and I planned ours on our dining room table with a door-to-door salesman. Really. Why is there not a better way to do this? We are all going to die, and none of us really want to burden our family with this effort, so why is there not a fun way to do this? This is one example of where a little love and some basic retail principles would go a long way.

What other examples can you think of where there is a gap in the industry, or a particular retail format that can be altered slightly to remove the pain in the relationship? I can guarantee that where there is pain, there is also opportunity for a little love, and more top line revenue. Find the pain. Show the love. Make some money. It’s a vicious cycle.