The one customer you’re neglecting in business…and how to keep them loyal

Customers, clients, suppliers, staff.

They’re crucial stakeholders in every business – and keeping them all happy (including you) requires perceptiveness and willingness to satisfy evolving demands.

We invest so much time on customer retention and constantly strategise ways to encourage consumer loyalty – in fact, as a SME, we are often so busy taking care of business we neglect one key customer. They’re closest to us, influence our happiness, motivation, and success, and if their needs are not fulfilled the once-happy customer becomes dissatisfied and now has justification to take their business elsewhere.

Our partners are our most valuable customers

The one you spend your life with requires the same compromise of energy, time, and effort as in business. After all, our primary objective as entrepreneurs is to attract customers, win them over, provide them with great service, and deliver a memorable experience to keep them coming back. We can apply the same approach to our relationships and dating life, but as in business if you don’t satisfy their needs the same risk applies: Let them down, and they’ll look elsewhere.

So, how can we maintain the balance of business and relationships to keep every stakeholder and customer happy? Here are my top five tips for maintaining loyalty and longevity, and why you should think of your partner as a customer.

1. Communicate

It’s age-old advice, but communication is everything in business and relationships. Just as you talk to your customers, ask them about their needs and find ways to deliver, you should do the same with your partner. How was their day? What do they need? How can you support them? Frequently checking in will ensure customers’ best interests are considered in a commercial and emotional environment.

2. Over deliver on your promises

As a thoughtful small-business owner, you get to know your customers well and deliver beyond their expectations. From a free gift to a discount, going the extra mile is a surefire way to maintain loyalty and good word of mouth. In your relationship, this could look like cooking for your partner one night (when they’re usually the house chef), or buying them a small present when they least expect it. Or little acts of kindness to show they are appreciated.

3. Know your product

Good business is good knowledge. Becoming an expert in what you do or the products you sell means your clients will come to see you as a trusted figure. Similarly, with trust being the pillar of every good relationship, understanding your partner’s love languages, desires, strengths, weaknesses and needs, enables you to solve problems with empathy.

4. Surprise and delight

Variety is the spice of life. Keep your business customers captivated with new products, value adding with free first-class service and surprise special offers, It takes up to five times more energy to acquire a new customer in comparison to retaining one. To the same degree when you’ve gone through the dating process to finally secure a relationship, it’s important to avoid things becoming monotonous in your personal life, too. Keep things spontaneous and exciting.

5. Respect the fact that your customers’ needs change

Stay relevant and be progressive. Consumer demands change and everybody wants the next best thing. The combination of stability and surprise introducing new products and services into the market keeps your customer excited and coming back for more. Don’t allow dust to settle on stock and undervalue the overall appeal of your product in the same way you need to polish your skills and find ways to fill as many of your partners’ needs as possible.

Implement these five tactics into your interactions with all customers to maintain healthy, progressive relationships.