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How to keep your customers

May 21st, 2011

There is an old saying that says if you’re not talking to your customers someone else will be. If that someone else is your competition then you’ve got a problem. If you had to rate yourself on keeping in touch with your customer base would you score an excellence, average, or go back to bed?

All too often business owners are focussed on filling the sales funnel, getting more people in the door and more new sales. While that’s great don’t forget about the people that have supported you before or are still customers (and of course the acquisition cost to get a new customer is normally more expensive than retaining an existing one).

Two questions that I frequently get asked is how often should someone be in touch with their customers and what is the best way? The answer is pretty simple – how long is that bit of string?

There is no right answer as it depends on your business and how often a customer wants (or needs) to hear from you. For some businesses it may be weekly, others monthly, quarterly and so on. The question you need to ask yourself first is why you want to be in front of your customer? Are you adding value to them, wanting to keep front of mind, wanting to sell or being a pain in the %$#@##.

Apart from delivering outstanding service when a customer buys from you or uses your service there are a number of ways to remain in front of them. It may be

  • Email or hard copy newsletter
  • Follow up sales calls
  • Social media
  • Having a regular call cycle
  • Doing it the old fashioned way and actually talking to them!
  • Webinar or running a value add event
  • Regular sales call cycle
  • Cards for special events
  • Special customer evenings
  • Loyalty cards
  • …. and the list goes on

Don’t forget though that before you can keep in touch you actually need to have a database to start with. The database may consist of

  • Existing clients
  • Previous clients
  • Suppliers
  • Other service providers
  • Other people you’ve met in the course of your business

If you don’t have a BMS (Business Management System) then trusty ol’ excel will do. Gather the information in a way that’s easy for you to access and filter and make sure that you keep it up to date.

The last comment I’d make if you do decide to keep in touch with your customers is that

… your activity needs to be consistent …

Go on and give it a try, you may be interested in the results!

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