I had lunch, today, in one of my favorite local restaurants and the service was deplorable. I have lunch, at least, once a week in this restaurant and the service is normally very good.
Today, I was put in a most uncomfortable position: I was made to feel invisible by my waitress. I had to ask a busboy to get me a waiter/waitress and once she took my order, she never again made eye contact with me or came over to ask me how everything was. I even had to ask a different waiter for the check!
I'm, typically, a decent tipper, however, today, I gave the tip that was deserved. I gave a 10% tip. Frankly, that was probably more than what was deserved, but I like the food, the price, and the location of this restaurant, so I'll return. (If I continue to receive bad service, I'll go elsewhere.)
If you treat your customers/clients as poorly as I was treated, today, you might not be so lucky. There is so much competition for your customers'/clients' business, that if you don't want to lose that chunk of steady business, you had better treat that steady customer/client as the valued contact that he is.
A couple of days ago, I waited 25 minutes to be seen by my chiropractor which was much longer than I usually have to wait for him and it was on a day that I had already been out of the office for far too long a period. However, my chiropractor was his usual charming self and apologized, profusely, for the wait. Not only that, but he meant it. My chiropractor and I have such a wonderful relationship that I would never go elsewhere unless I moved far away from New York City. He would never treat me badly as it's not in his makeup. He's not only a sweetheart: he's also smart.
All of your clients are important, however, your steady clients are your bread and butter and should be treated as nicely as you treated them the first time you met them. Don't let things slide and make them go elsewhere. They might not want to leave you, but ultimately, they will. I have left professionals and service providers, with whom I had long-term relationships, and wouldn't hesitate to do so, again, if I wasn't properly treated and appreciated. I doubt that I'm unique in this regard.
Let me add something to the mix that I think is very important. When you're trying to interest a potential client in your product or services, if you ask the potential client how he prefers to be contacted (e-mail or phone) and if you, then, disregard his wishes, you are either an idiot or a person who fears success.
If a company can't follow my expressed wishes, which, by the way, it requested from me, why on earth would I consider buying its products or using its services? I've already gotten a taste of what it would be like to deal with this company. The gym that offered me a complimentary pass for a day, today, will NEVER get my business.
It's so easy to work smartly that it's astounding to me that more people don't. All you have to do is 1) pay attention to what your client/potential client says 2) serve him in the way he wants to be served 3) follow up with him to ensure that he is happy with your product or service 4) treat him with respect and 5) treat him the way you would like to be treated.
It's that simple.