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Bates: Customer service is key for retention

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

We all have customers we want to retain, but only a few make retention a priority. I have found keeping a good customer is well worth the time, especially in today’s competitive marketplace.

How do we keep our best customers? First, get to know them. Court them. What are their interests? Do they have a family? What’s new in their industry? Send an article regarding their interests or industry they might enjoy. Invite this great client as your guest to an activity that will help them meet prospective clients or just have fun. Second, give referrals to your good customers. If they are good to you, they will treat your network well. You appreciate referrals, I just bet your customers will. Third, purchase from your customers and let others know of your good experience. Fourth, your organization will make mistakes. It happens in the best of companies.   Contact the customer and admit to the mistake. Be sincere in this apology, but make certain you offer something to compensate. Lastly, and most important, listen to your client. They may express a need that, if you are not listening, could be the key to dissatisfaction or possibly an additional sale. Customers can go elsewhere. Make certain you work hard to retain those special clients that are the bread and butter of your business.

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Have you registered for the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce Scramble yet? It’s the most powerful networking event of the season. It includes a three-course meal with salad, chicken and choice of dessert. But the best part is the Scramble facilitates making 30 presentations in two hours to power partners and potential clients. The event is Nov. 1. For information, visit mchenrycscramble.com. Porte Brown CPA is sponsoring the event.

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The next Brown Bag Luncheon is at noon Wednesday. It will feature Geri Condon of Capture Your Path Counseling. Condon will talk about how colors affect your business life. Why are we drawn to certain colors? Are the colors on our business card attracting or repelling customers? Does the color we wear affect our mood?

Other Brown Bags include “Power Program: Leverage your Power as a Small Company to Outbid the Big Boys” presented by the State Controller’s Office. It will be at noon Friday.

The “Affordable Care Act and How It Will Impact Your Business,” presented by Shelly Nicholson of the McHenry Health Department and Chuck Wheeler of The Health Insurance Mart Agency, will be Oct. 30.

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Help save Red Mango. The frozen yogurt store on Green Street in McHenry opened more than a year ago. The franchise business was off to a great start, but doesn’t have the clientele today to survive. So the chamber is declaring today “Save Red Mango” day. All in the community are invited. Store hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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Sushi King is offering a $15.95 all-you-can-eat dinner Oct. 29. Patrons who have eaten there for dinner or lunch have raved about Sushi King. For the special offer, community residents and chamber members must let Sushi King know the McHenry Chamber sent them.

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There are many member Halloween happenings Saturday. If you are looking for something fun to do as a family, visit www.mchenrychamber.com

• Kay Bates is executive director of the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce. 

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