With a challenging economy, high unemployment and an unclear future the value of loyalty has never been higher. Today most companies have lost sight on the things that should be the MOST important such as service, support, solutions, respect, results and loyalty.
When the economy tanked dozens of the builders and real estate customers we work with went from having large marketing budgets to barely being able to pay the bills. The first few calls came in 2007 where someone asked to ‘take down the website’ because they could not afford to pay for the hosting or marketing. Many companies would simply go ahead and disconnect service but we choose to take a different route. I personally contacted everyone who called to let them know we appreciate their business, support and loyalty so we were going to return that loyalty and support by paying the bills for the customer until things were better.
The first few times I did this the lady who handles our accounting nearly had a heart attack. Not only was I telling her to stop trying to collect money I was explaining that WE were now paying the bills for the customers. Many of these companies and people were the same ones who helped our small website company get started from my house in 1995 buying websites from ‘that Dotcom guy’ when business was good and few companies felt they really needed a website to sell a home. As the market and technology changed websites and online marketing became invaluable and when times are tough a website may be the only hope a builder has to reach a buyer…so we keep the websites on. The decision to do what is right instead of what is most profitable has made cash flow tight from time to time but given the choice to make more or help more we will always choose to help.
Google’s motto is “Don’t Be Evil” while Internet Builder Consulting’s motto is “Do What is Right and Make it Better Because We are Here”. There are literally thousands of people and companies who offer websites, SEO and online marketing today. What has made Internet Builder Consulting successful, the Best Place to Work in Kansas City with 91% customer retention are a few key things.
1. Always give more
Go above and beyond to take care of the customer, help find a resolution no matter who is at fault, no matter what time or what day it is. Under promise and over deliver whenever possible, communicate and make sure the customer and staff knows how much you appreciate them.
2. Be transparent with your business, products and services
Things happen, staff changes from time to time and mistakes or delays are inevitable no matter how good you are or how well run things may be. When something goes wrong address it, learn from it and make sure the customer knows it will be resolved. We use social networks to share updates for the company, planned system updates or upgrades and to educate on new technologies since education is ALWAYS better than sales. Never ever sell something if you do not have that expertise in-house with complete control of the quality, capabilities and results. Never misrepresent yourself as something you are not, it may help increase sales in the short term but eventually people find out.
3. Build a better relationship on Social Networks
Have everyone in the company join social networks and interact with customers, post updates and ideas on projects and get to know the people we work with. Customers are on Facebook or Twitter where they may read updates, company news or events and contact you if they need something. If you really care about the companies and people you work with then get involved with them and learn more about who they are, what they enjoy and causes they support. Internet Builder Consulting has donated dozens of websites to charities, organizations and worthy causes for customers.
4. Walk the Walk, if you Sell It you should Do It (better than anyone else)!
If you sell websites and website hosting then you better have a crack team of website designers, developers, SEO and Social Marketing experts ON STAFF and have all of that setup properly for your company. Too often someone sells a service they don’t use or really understand, such as Social Marketing or SEO, simply because it is a ‘hot item’ customers ask for. Internet Builder Consulting started writing articles, teaching website, online marketing and SEO classes in 1999 and Social Marketing classes in 2007 and all services are practiced every day at the office. It takes a team of dedicated experts to keep ahead of the technology curve.
5. Be Loyal
No matter what, be loyal to the customers, companies and people you work with. These are the people and businesses that helped you succeed so when they need help make sure you are there. This extends past the office, we have customers who support Down Syndrome diabetes, breast cancer and local charities which we volunteer for and donate websites, marketing, photography or whatever is needed.
Doing what is right is usually not what is easy or most profitable but it is the way we do business and live life. It’s not about the money, it is about doing what you love with people you want to be around and companies you respect and support.