If anyone knows me, they know that I’m a “people person”. I love to hear people’s stories and learn about their lives. In this industry, there are many stories to tell especially among the ole timers (although I’m realizing “ole timers’ are not that old anymore!).
I’ve always enjoyed getting to know our customers. Throughout the years (before our company grew), it was most likely me that talked to our customers, and I got to know most of them as friends. My husband and I often traveled onsite to their locations and it was great to see their operations in action. Sometimes we’d even be invited to eat with them at their houses or their favorite restaurants.
Convention times have always been a great time to reunite with everyone as well. It’s always fun to see everyone catching up seeing how their year went and being relieved that the season is over. Facebook has also been a game-changer, finding out the hobbies and watching family events of your customers who have become your friends.
Since our company has grown, we now have a support team that gets most of the support calls. I’ve noticed that they’ve become friends with many of our customers as well. When I get the calls after hours. sometimes people feel that they’re “bothering” me since it’s later in the day. However, I’m always happy to catch up!
Sometimes the conversations can get emotional. It can be someone talking to you as a friend with things going on in their lives. These conversations are kept private, but it could be losing a husband from a crash, losing a child to a disease, or going through health issues among many other things. Whatever they’re going through, I want to be there for my friends.
As an operation, how do you connect with your customers? I’ve talked to multiple different operations that connect in different ways. Some love to send Christmas cards, one company has an annual fish fry, others reach out with a phone call.
I talked with Darla Meise with Northwest Ag in Moses Lake, WA, and find what they do very fascinating. She said “Every year we have a customer appreciation dinner. Families welcome. We cater it and have door prize drawings and give away anything from pens, T-shirts to wine. The customers, oddly, always thank us for giving back to them. We just enjoy their business and want them to know we don’t take them for granted. There are other aerial applicator businesses they could choose, but they choose us, maybe because we give back to them.”
Connecting with your customers is not always about business. You can build friendships for a lifetime and that’s worth more than any business in the world.
Stay connected and stay safe!