Is It Time To Give Up Customer LoyaltyHere’s how things stand from the small business customer relationship angle. We always try to remain loyal to our customers whatever happens. During these tough economic times, all of our customers are looking for the best prices they can get, anywhere they can. Businesses are cutthroating each other, and going out of business because of it.

However, there is still a level of quality behind your product and service that you must maintain if you are to maintain viable for the long haul. And sometimes that quality and certainly that experience that has kept you here has a certain value to your customers.

Now here’s where it gets complicated. You may need to allow some customers fall by the wayside as a natural migration to a cheaper or lesser product or service in this economy and stick to your price point. This seems to go against everything in your nature and your overall business sense, but it makes real business sense not to forsake price and quality to retain customers who will leave eventually anyway.

If you remain viable and continue to create a quality product, then new customers will replace the old ones, and you will emerge on the other side of this downturn. A few old customers will remain because they value the product or service and haven’t been hit hard enough to need to make a switch. However, if you lower your quality and service too much now, it will be too hard to raise them back up to the level they should be when it’s time to come back up. Once you’ve given the customer a cheap deal, it’s hard to bring it back up to where it should be.

Before you cut your price or reduce your quality, try keeping your customers, instead. Instead, try these things to keep your customers happy.

Increase your customer interaction. Connect with your existing customers more personally, make them aware that you’re there for them, and you care about their needs and wants. It’s harder for customers to cut ties with customers who really care about them.

Change your offering or service. You may be getting in a rut with what you’re doing or offering, and that can affect how you’re doing it. What’s worked in the past isn’t always what’s working now.

Check in with your customers about how you’re doing. Any feedback you can get from your customers is good — even if it’s bad, because if it’s bad, you can work on improving your product or service to make it better.

Be open to change how you do business with your customer. You can help them out financially while at the same time maintaining your price and quality of your product or service. Check out how you allow your customers to pay for your goods, maybe change terms of existing agreements or purchase orders and look at how you process payments or extend credit to customers. Show you’re flexible and they may not want to go anywhere else.