Your Customers’ Mindset in Today’s Economy

March 2009

Keep in mind the concept of customer loyalty and trust.

As one who lies on the producer side of the divide, often times a perspective overlooked is that consumers are the ones feeling the economic crunch. Now is the time to understand what your consumers' mindset are in their current state. It is the aware and avid arts and crafts vendor that will maximize profits at thier shows.

Most consumers understand that no business has been untouched by the recent economic slump. By handling problems quickly and effectively (i.e. custom service requests and special inquiries), your customers will understand very clearly your commitment to them. To keep them motivated incentive sales should reward customers for returning regular business as well as gaining new ones. Trust your instincts that you will make the right business decisions and your customers will follow.

Measure and survey what your customers do, say and pay for. If your product or service is higher priced, follow up regularly to insure satisfaction. The very act of following up strengthens long term relationships.

Exceed those customer expectations and they will remember you each and every time they need your product or service. Remember that if you cannot distinguish yourself they will buy on price alone. During this volatile economic stretch run, the customer is a fickle animal. They may not be impressed when arts vendor calls the customers by their last name after running the credit card through the machine. Today's customers may even get to the point where that is expected. Consequently, what is surprising, then, is that which goes beyond the customer's sense of expectation. A cost effective way to ensure this is to periodically send a broadcast out to your e-customer list to keep your relationships active.

Establish personal relationships with your customers. This distinguishes you from the competition and makes it harder for your customer to 'jump ship'. Allow customers to be real people -- let their personalities come through to establish a bond during the short time spent visit your booth.

You don't need to 'reengineer' or reorganize to adapt to customer confidence. Rather, tweak your strategy to cater to the changing tastes of today's customers. Whatever you do, focus on your gaining loyalty and trust.

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