80th in a 2022 Series*
I had 12 minutes to share advice on “Building Lasting Customer Relationships.” It was part of a “Flash Session” at the Nebraska Press Association’s Annual Conference, April 29-30. I opted to present this Top 10 list of “actions that worked during 15 years as a community publisher”:
1. Invite readers to Community Forums to discuss issues of importance.
2. Send/publish updates to readers and advertisers about the newspaper. Give them the scoop.
3. Write personal notes. Surprise and delight.
4. Involve the staff in sending thank-you cards to new subscribers and those who reach milestones (5, 10, 15, 20 ….years) in supporting your local news operation.
5. Send copies of stories to the local residents who appear in your newspaper. Add a short congratulations note.
6. Conduct open houses at least once a year. (Note: For newspapers without an office, consider borrowing space from an advertiser, such as a restaurant.)
7. Do a great job advocating for newspapers during National Newspaper Week in October. Plan well in advance. NNW should not be a surprise.
8. Answer all customer queries ASAP, even if it’s “I’m working on it.” Solve problems within 24 hours. The sooner, the better. Over-communicate.
9. Share customer complaints with all managers. It’s educational.
10. Deliver thank-you gifts in person from time to time to loyal advertisers, sponsors.
BONUS: Invite local restaurants to provide samples to your staff meetings in return for time to introduce themselves. Food spices up your meetings and the restaurant gets future customers. This concept can extend to other advertisers. Make the relationship with the newspaper personal.
Special thanks to my colleagues who got it done.
My 12 minutes are up.
–Tom Silvestri, Executive Director, The Relevance Project
*ABOUT THE SERIES: Our goal is to share a Relevant Point of the Day (RPD) each weekday throughout 2022. Our target is at least 222. Thank you for supporting The Relevance Project. Your success is our focus.