Giving back to your customers, constructively

A client of mine owns a Snow Removal/Lawn Care Company. In his first year of business, he sold a number of contracts for snow removal.

Great deal for him, really because it was one of those ‘light’ years. He plowed three times.

He came to me, worried that his customers had been shortchanged because it hadn’t snowed much and they’d all paid for these contracts. He wanted to refund his customers a portion of their contract price.

What did I think about that?

I reasoned with him that if he did that, all his customers would remember is they must have paid too much. It would certainly affect next winter’s contract sales. And, it could easily have gone the other way… so much snow that he was plowing daily.

“What is it you want to achieve?” I asked.

“I want them to feel good about doing business with me and to not feel like they got ‘ripped off,'” he said.

Okay then. Let’s swing this around a little. You’ve got a new fellow here who has just opened a window cleaning business. He’s looking to build his customer base and ramp up business activities. It’s spring, so the timing is perfect.

Why don’t you take the money you were willing to return to your customers and spend it, instead, on him? Then send him around to each of your customers with a thank you card and make his washing outside windows on their ground floor your gift to them for being your customer this year.

What do you think that will achieve for you? There’s a three-way win here.

The customer wins because they get something extra that they’re going to be really happy about.

The new window-washing business wins because they get introduced to many new customers.

You win, because you’ve said thank you in a way that’s memorable. And repeatable.

Do you think your customers will talk about you? They sure will.