Tips to Increase your Value in Customer Relationships

Tips to Increase your Value in Customer Relationships

©2017 Doug Butler PhD, CJF, FWCF

Butler Professional Farrier School

The following seven important questions and suggested guidelines should be considered when attempting to establish good farrier – client relationships:

  1. Are you making a good impression? It is easier to build a good long-term relationship when the first impression is favorable. If you wish to be successful you must give an impression of success. Plan to be on time to appointments. Build a relationship of dependability and trust. Pay attention to grooming (bathing, deodorant, shaving, haircut, etc.). Wash and clean your truck often. Dress in clean workman-like clothes. (Change shirts between appointments if sweating makes it necessary.) Avoid anything that might be offensive to the client such as smoking, chewing, spitting, inappropriate language, profane wording on bumper stickers or clothing, and anything that might be perceived as sexual harassment.
  2. Are you a valuable asset to the client? You must convince people you have a desire to be of service and do the job right. Build value in the mind of the customer by showing them that you provide excellent service because of your training and experience. Have a well thought-out way to describe and promote your business. Prove to your clients that you have paid the price to be a trusted partner to provide superior care for their horse. Show by your attitude and dependability that you are a valuable asset to your client.
  3. Do you show that your client is important to you? Develop a system to prioritize your clients. Devote the most time and attention to your best clients and give great service to them. Paredo, a well-known Italian economist, determined that 20% of your clients will give you 80% of your business. Classify or rank your clients into categories such as A’s, B’s, or C’s. An A loves what you do and is enjoyable to be around. They recommend only you and pay consistently. A B is satisfied with you but could be just as happy with another farrier. They don’t see your value like an A. They need more evidence to move them to an A. A C doesn’t value you or their horse and is not enjoyable to work for. No one can satisfy them. Get rid of C’s ASAP.
  4. Do you keep accurate and helpful records? Create a systematic way to keep track of the horses you work on and describe the work you do on each. Show respect and empathy for your clients by recording the horse’s name and its history so you can remember it. (The faintest ink is brighter than the brightest memory!) Record how to get to their property and important identification and behavioral information about each horse. Use a computer program and digital camera to record problems and successes. Select some of these and put them in a notebook, on your web site or in a Power Point to show to clients when discussing a case.
  5. Is your client aware of how you do business? Put yourself in control of how your business is run. Discuss your policies early in your relationship. Consistency is key. Set standards for making appointments, horse behavior, payment expectations, missed appointments, missing shoe replacement, overdue accounts, etc. don’t do new work until the old bill is paid. Schedule your next visit at the completion of your work when you get paid. Call the day before to remind them of their appointment.
  6. Do you show gratitude for the client’s business? Send thank-you notes by snail mail or email. Send appropriate and useful gifts such as books, CDs, or DVDs to clients who provide referrals. Reciprocate with those that have businesses you can patronize. Send out thank you cards and/or gifts at Thanksgiving, especially to A
  7. Have you sponsored a customer appreciation day? This can be an educational event and/or a picnic of some kind with games and prizes. A well-prepared presentation by you or a popular clinician will encourage attendance. These types of events endear customers to you and help them appreciate and recommend your service to others. You may want to partner with a local feed store, tack shop, hardware or other horse-related business.

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