Marketers tend to focus a lot on customer acquisition. This is not altogether surprising. A marketer’s effectiveness is often judged based on how many new customers are brought to a company through marketing efforts. However, acquiring new customers, as you likely well know, is certainly not the end of the story. Indeed, one could argue that winning a customer is just the beginning of the story. How can you make sure that your new customer sticks with you over the long term? That’s our topic for today’s #FiveTipsFriday.
1. Check in even if there is not a project in process: The adage “Out of sight, out of mind” has no place in today’s business world. Even if you are not working with your customer on a project, and even if you have not worked with them directly for a month or so, continue to check in regularly. See how their business is doing. Encourage them to talk about what challenges they are facing, and see if you can help, even if that help may not be selling one of your products. Show some interest. Show some empathy.
2. Become a resource: The idea of becoming a “thought leader” can seem slightly abstract. However, consider the importance of becoming a reliable source of information for your customers. Even if they don’t need your product or service at a particular time, they still might consider giving you a call to get your advice or your opinion.
3. Add the personal touch: The personal touch still matters. I was conversing with some friends last week about how social media seems to be taking the element of “wining and dining” out of the business world, and that’s unfortunate. While social media can be used for lead nurturing to a certain extent, Twitter still does not replace the value of a face-to-face, in-person conversation.
4. Refer your customer to others: This can be tricky, but few things will earn you loyalty like helping your customer gain new business ventures. If you deal with a lot of companies in your customer’s industry, chances are good you will encounter, eventually, a company that could use your customer’s services or products. Referrals also prove to your customer that you truly understand what they do and how well they do it.
5. Show appreciation: This sounds like the easiest step, and probably for that reason it is the most often neglected. Do your customers know how much you value their business? Do your longest-term customers know that they are your longest-standing customers? It you can’t answer in the affirmative immediately, it’s time to make sure you get this point across. It doesn’t have to be cheesy, but it should be done.
These tips work no matter what business you’re in. If you’re a manufacturer selling to companies or if, like us, you’re an agency working with all sorts of companies, you can always do more to appreciate your customers and the business and trust they give you. It’s a nice thing to ponder going into the weekend, isn’t it?
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/doug88888/5561130623/ via Creative Commons