Integrity, Extra Effort Build Customer Relationships

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While tightly editing a submitted piece for the January-February issue that looks at low-cost marketing strategies, taken from the recently-published “Changing the Channel: 12 Easy Ways to Make Millions for Your Business,” the following sentence from co-author MaryEllen Tribby ended up on the cutting room floor:

“Strong customer relationships are built on integrity: Never promise anything you can’t deliver. But when you see an opportunity to over-deliver, do it every time.”

It’s a short couple of sentences but a powerful concept that goes a long way toward creatingfiercely loyal customers. Chris Nickas, advertising manager for Mega Group USA, mentioned the concept of “lagniappe,” a Cajun term meaning “giving more than what’s required with no expectation of anything in return,” in an article three years ago, about a New Orleans butcher who always gave customers an extra ounce or two in every pound of ground beef sold. At this year’s GIE+EXPO Dealer Experience, Ariens Co. President Dan Ariens mentioned the importance of dealers going above and beyond the call of duty as a way to maintain customer loyalty during tough economic conditions.

I cut the sentence from the article for space reasons, since it wasn’t a specific “low-cost marketing technique,” but really it’s one of the oldest in the business world: earning a reputation as a dealership that provides more value, more service, and gives the customer the most for his or her money. This in turn creates positive word-of-mouth referrals from loyal customers—what many will agree is the most effective marketing technique of all.

Again, the book providing the excerpts is “Changing the Channel: 12 Easy Ways to Make Millions for Your Business,” by Michael Masterson and MaryEllen Tribby (Wiley, October 2008, ISBN: 978-0-470-37502-0, $24.95) Call 800-225-5945. In Canada, call 800-567-4797.