Twenty years ago, we surveyed horse owners to determine why people selected the farriers they choose to work on their horses. Most people couldn't tell us why they chose their farrier, but they certainly could speak to why they fired the last one.
We revamped the survey to ask a bunch of questions about firing farriers. The top 3 reasons people change farriers are that the farrier:
- stopped showing up
- didn’t return phone calls
- was habitually late
All of these results can be lumped into one problem - broken promises. Number six on the cowboy code of conduct is, when you make a promise, keep it.
Broken Promises Break Businesses
Your client assigns a personal relationship to the service you provide, much like we do dentists and barbers. As the service provider, you must have a clear understanding of that relationship. When you break a promise to a client, they perceive it as you lying to them.
When we fail to keep our promises, it communicates that we don’t value our relationship with our clients. Even breaking small promises adds up. Clients learn they can’t count on us, and tiny cracks start to form in that relationship.
Never forget this. As a farrier, you aren’t selling trimming or shoeing horses; you’re selling a relationship. A good relationship is based on promises made and promises kept.
Your clients are not widgets on an assembly line. You can’t just take the money and shove them aside until they come up again. If you shower your customers with promises and expectations that you eventually fail to fulfill, they’ll terminate their relationship with you.
Build Customer Loyalty
Continuing to keep promises made at the beginning of a relationship builds loyalty. Building loyalty is one of the BEST things you can do for your business. It means you don't lose customers when you raise your prices or get sick or injured and have to take time off. If a new farrier moves into your area and undercuts you, your business won’t be affected if you’ve built customer loyalty.
Over the years, we've participated in countless fundraisers for injured or sick farriers - some organized by the farrier’s clients. That type of loyalty doesn't happen for someone who doesn't care about his or her clients. It doesn’t happen for the people who break their promises. Nothing strengthens a relationship more than being honest about what our customers can expect and then delivering to their satisfaction and beyond.
There is a corrosive and ultimately destructive effect of broken promises on your farrier practice's strength and stability. Sometimes that effect is slow. It's not felt right away, maybe over time, but customers will slowly withdraw their business from you. They take their friends and their family and their colleagues as they go, and your business will shrink before your eyes.
Take an honest look at your business and your performance. Can your clients truly trust you? Trust cannot be bought, stockpiled, or artificially made. It must be earned daily by your actions.
Trust is not something that is earned once and lasts forever. You must be consistent in earning and keeping your client’s trust. Keeping promises must be the hallmark of your business. Only routinely kept promises will enhance your reputation and generate customer loyalty.
If you want to have a successful farrier practice, you must build a reputation of promises made and promises kept. When your customers see that you genuinely value them and care about the service you provide them, they'll be customers for life. Apply Now