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Don’t Let a Tight Economy Make You Stingy About Connecting with Customers

How many times a day do you hear a radio or TV ad with rueful, obvious acknowledgement of the recession? You know, the ones with over-earnest voice-overs that begin something like this: “These days, we’re all cutting back on expenses,” or “Now every dollar has to stretch a little farther”? As true as the message might be, commercials like this continue to amp up the fear factor. The fact is that your customers are nervous about spending money. They’re afraid of becoming one of the tens of thousands who have been losing their jobs every month.

How many times a day do you hear a radio or TV ad with rueful,
obvious acknowledgement of the recession? You know, the ones with
over-earnest voice-overs that begin something like this: “These days,
we’re all cutting back on expenses,” or “Now every dollar has to
stretch a little farther”? As true as the message might be, commercials
like this continue to amp up the fear factor. The fact is that your
customers are nervous about spending money. They’re afraid of becoming
one of the tens of thousands who have been losing their jobs every
month. If they’ve been laid off, they’re worried that it might be a
long time before they see another paycheck.

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Where does this put you as a business? Are you caving to the same
fear factor of losing money, employees, and customers? Well, snap out
of it! The only way to brave a recession is to be brave about
it. That means finding inventive ways of (re)connecting with customers.
Some of these methods could be free, or as close to it as most things
get, and some may require a bold investment on your part. A couple
examples of the former:

Company newsletter. Offer customers a way sign up for it on your
website and on-location. Send a newsletter every month highlighting new
product launches, anniversaries, company, employee, and/or client
achievements, and industry news. Newsletters are an inexpensive way to
keep in touch with current and prospective customers—and keeping in
touch ensures that you’re first on their mind next time they need your
product or service.

Customer amenities. It’s the little things that count. Set up a
refreshment area in your place of business and offer customers a
gourmet cup of coffee (none of that shady airplane stuff!), water,
soda, fresh fruit, and/or small packaged snacks. They’ll appreciate the
extra thought, especially when most companies are cutting back on extra
thoughts.

If you’re a mid-sized to large company, a more dramatic move could pay off. Take Apple,
for example, which plans to remodel 100 locations this year to display
more products, offer customer training, and better support the overall
brand of the company. Not to mention those ubiquitous “There’s an app
for that” iPhone commercials. But the result? Consumers trust
Apple. They believe it is a growing, prospering company and are more
apt to do business with it. If you’re in a position to make
improvements within your company, Apple’s lead may be a profitable one
to follow.

Bottom line: Like your customers, cut back on extras—the
used-twice-a-year golf course membership, perhaps?—but don’t skimp on
the things that matter. And in business, connecting with customers is
what matters most.

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About the author

Corey Michael Blake's latest adventure is publishing the first series of SmarterComics -- a revolutionary new way of business books for busy professionals on-the-go. Titles by best-selling authors Larry Winget, Chris Anderson, Tom Hopkins, Dr.

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