Two Simple Statements

610xAs I was leaving the ILM:08 conference Friday afternoon I made my way around the various rooms and hallways to say goodbye and shake the hands of the many people I met with over the last few days. As I neared the lobby of the hotel I bumped into the Localeze crew hanging out and waiting for a cab to the airport. I walked over to thank them for the dinner and drinks from the previous evening. We joked around about a few things, as we usually do, and when I thanked Brian Wool, Vice President at Localeze, he responded “No Ben, thank you, we really appreciate your business.” I didn’t think much of it, we chatted for a minute longer and then I left the hotel for the airport.

Coincidentally, when I arrived my airport terminal I bumped into Geoff Jeff Beard, President of Localeze. We chatted a bit while until it was time to board the plane. I turned, shook his hand, and said “thanks again for the great time last night, really” and his response was “It was our pleasure, and thank you, we really appreciate your business.”

That’s when it hit me – “Thank you” and “we really appreciate your business” – two very simple statements, but so powerful. And sadly enough, as consumers and customers we just don’t hear it enough. Instead, we see a generic sign from the hardware store hanging in a window, or on the back of a cash register, that reads “Thank you, come again!” or “We value your business” but so rarely is it actually spoken.

When I sat on the plane I started to realize something – I’ve heard these statements many times from Localeze. In fact, I’ve heard it from each and every one of them either oh the phone or in person. I found myself rather dumbstruck by this, as simple as it is. All of this translates into something else, something vital in business – loyalty.

Like all companies there are a number of service providers, partners, and vendors that we work with at CitySquares. Nearly all of these relationships have lasted because, well obviously they provide value, but also because they appreciate our business and they make sure I know that. They make us feel like we’re valued. If I don’t feel like they appreciate my business, I’ll continue doing business with them but if someone else comes along and makes me a better offer, I’d give it serious consideration.

CitySquares’ relationships with our customers are our biggest asset. We have a high customer renewal rate because we take care of them, we provide them with value, and we appreciate their business. In fact, every month we have what we call Customer Love Day. Yeah I know, it sounds a little corny but that’s what it is; Customer Appreciation Day sounds so corporate and cliche. The point is that we make a concerted effort to make the time and we go out of our way to check in with our customers, provide them with additional value and to thank them and let them know that we appreciate their business. This is a process that’s simply in CitySquares’ DNA.

In these tough economic times, as businesses struggle in various ways it’s never ever too late to tell your partners and customers that you appreciate their business, to thank them. You can’t build loyalty in one phone call though, it takes time – but you can start today.

Clear a few minutes off your calendar and call just one of your customers today, or one more. Thank them, do something for them, go the extra mile. It only takes a moment and the worst you get out of it is a happy customer.

Off to ILM

Bag-33415Next week myself and Jason (account executive from CitySquares) are off to Santa Clara, CA for The Kelsey Group‘s annual superbowl of all things local – ILM:08. This is a fantastic event that I’ve had the pleasure of attending in the past. The panels are excellents, the keynotes as well, but what I really like about ILM are the networking opportunities. That’s really at the core of ILM for me – meeting other players, and looking into new opportunities with them. It’s a hell of a time. Peter Krasilovsky organizes the event each year, and moderates many of the panels, and does a hell of a job each time. I look forward to seeing many people at ILM this year! If you’re planning to attend, shoot me an email or send me a DM on twitter. If you’re not aware of ILM, but you can make the trek out to the west coast, I highly recommend you do – well worth the investment.