Many businesses spend so much time looking for new clients, they forget the ones they already have. And yet your existing customers are the most important people to your business.
Indifference or lack of interest is said to be one of the main reasons a customer will go somewhere else, higher than poor service or cost! And yet we still ignore them.
We all know that it is 8 times more expensive to find a new customer. It is said that only 2% of new sales comes from the first contact with a client and a staggering 80% of new sales comes from the 5th to 12th contact! That proves how much effort is required to win someone round. So let’s not forget our existing clients.
It doesn’t take alot of effort to keep in touch. Here are our top tips to keep your clients feeling loved…
- Service excellence 100% of the time.
Sounds a bit obvious doesn’t it. Companies often really pull the stops out with a new client and go that extra mile to impress, but do you keep that level of service up? When that client reorders or wants more from your business, do they honestly get that same level of service that impressed them the first time around? The problem with bending over backwards in the first instance is, you are setting a precedent and you are going to have to maintain that level going forward with that client. If you have reduced lead times or squeezed a customer in last minute to hit their deadlines, or whatever it is that has impressed your client the first time around, make sure they understand your standard terms of operation and that this is unprecedented.
If you are aiming for service excellence 100% of the time, make sure this applies to your existing clients as well as new ones. They can often fall through the net.
- Stay interested in their business.
Even if you haven’t got any work with a client at the moment, stay interested in their business. Set up google alerts or follow them on twitter so that you know what is happening in their business. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to pass on to them, tenders, grants, referrals, other suppliers that might be useful, anything that shows you are still thinking about them, and care about their business.
- A phone call still works.
If you haven’t heard from a client for a while, or even if they have been ordering from your business but haven’t been dealing with you, pick up the phone. You don’t have to have a reason, just a friendly, ‘Hi, haven’t spoken for a while, and wondered how things are going with you and your business.’ It’s not a sales call (although never be surprised when a customer asks you for something when you’ve made one of these calls). Your customers will be delighted to get such a call. It makes them feel wanted and that you do care.
- Keep in touch with a newsletter.
It’s a well known fact that companies who keep in touch with their clients with a regular newsletter retain their customers better than those who don’t. Make sure your newsletters are full of interesting topics, relevant and useful so that customers want to receive it. Never underestimate the power of your newsletter to spread brand awareness and keep in your customer’s mind. If you are not communicating with your clients, be sure your competitors will!
- Make time for your clients.
Make time to meet your clients on a regular basis. Listen to what they have got to say and understand what is happening in their business. Don’t always be too quick to suggest your products and services. Clients will trust you a lot more if you are not always trying to sell them something.
- If it goes wrong, resolve it fast.
Things will sometimes go wrong, this is life after all. But when it does, be quick to accept blame and a resolve for your client. Clients will rarely move away because of a mistake if it is dealt with efficiently and to their satisfaction. It’s a good test of any company’s customer service of how they deal with complaints, so make sure you have good systems in place to resolve issues quickly.
- Deliver on time, on budget, every time.
Doing what you say often doesn’t get you any rewards but if you don’t hit a deadline, you’ll know about it. I’m often amazed at how many companies fail to deliver what they say they are going to do. So there is definitely an opportunity for those of us who do deliver to maximise our opportunities!
- Use your marketing tool kit to best advantage.
Think how best to communicate with your clients. In truth a mix of marketing mediums is going to work best. As a marketing company ourselves we use most methods, we blog, we twitter, we use email marketing, we use our website, we network….and we still use those more traditional methods of direct mail and telephone. All work. But as long as you are staying in touch, keeping in front of your customers, they’ll still think of you when the next piece of work comes along.
If you need help keeping in touch with your clients First Impression can help. Give us a call on 01457 857111 to have a chat about your business.