First off, I’m finally settled into my new place in Austin, TX. I love it here. The company I work for – Main Street Hub, shameless plug – totally rocks and takes great care of its customers’ social media presence (and great care of its employees). I was able to experience some of the SXSW madness right outside the front door, which was epic. Things are pretty awesome. Now, on to the business at hand.
What the Gym Taught Me About Customer Relationship Management
Going to the gym has its ups and downs. You typically have plenty of options for machines, free weights, treadmills, yadda yadda. Sometimes, simply being amongst others who are pushing themselves can inspire you to work harder (kind of a form of social proof, if you will). If you are like me, you usually end up finding that one machine that works really well, and always bee-line for it when you see it available. Because, y’know, the other one creaks or doesn’t measure your heart rate, or simply looks like it will break mid-stride and impale you. I don’t wanna die at the gym, do you?
So anyway, one thing that really irks me, and this has happened numerous times, is when I go to claim a machine or bench, and some meathead comes up to me and says, “Hey man. I was using that.” Um, no. No, you were not. You were too busy stroking your ego in front of that mirror on the other side of the gym, flexing and grunting. This machine is mine now. You can have it when I’m done, maybe. *Side note: I usually concede if the guy is a big, scary, aggressive type. Remember that time when I said I don’t want to die at the gym?
Now, here is where I make my tie-in. Gym machines are to people as customers are to businesses. They build you up, make you stronger, and if you abandon them, someone else will gladly make use of them.
|This is your customer. All alone…Photo by Ambro
It is 6 to 7 times more costly to acquire a new customer than keep an existing one. Imagine how much more that figure inflates when a customer feels abandoned or ignored by your company and has been wooed by your competitor. Social media allows you many opportunities to keep up with your customers. You can keep an eye out for good or bad sentiment and react accordingly; and the point is exactly that – react. Show your customers that you care about their opinions (the good AND the bad) and they will not only respect you all the more for it, you may actually improve their initial sentiment. Use review and recommendation sites, such as Yelp!, Google Places, and foursquare, to maintain your image. Also, use them to check up on your competitors and claim their ignored equipment. When you see bad reviews of your competitors, reach out to those people (steal their machine!). Suddenly, you look like the friendly gym owner who says, “It’s ok, buddy. I’m someone who would love to pay attention to you. Let me show you.”
On that note, however, don’t be a peacock. Don’t strut your stuff once you feel good about your reputation. Be careful not to get so caught up in your own affairs that your customers become secondary. Don’t be that guy flexing in the mirror because, as I mentioned, you are then no longer paying attention to your machine. And I’m going to come steal it!
Do you have any success stories, either stealing customers or maintaining your customer base? Share your stories below.
Now go get your social on!