You need to protect your customer business in tough times.
In the face of retrenchment, it is increasingly costly and time-consuming to develop new business. It makes sense to keep your existing customers close and invest in expanding business with companies that are already buying from you. Invest in and take a serious look at the loyalty of your current customers. Have a thorough understanding of why they are buying what you are offering.
There are five ways to protect your customer base:
1. Look at how customers use your product or service.
If it is a commodity, consider how they buy it, use it, and re-order it. How can you make this process simpler for them? What steps can be eliminated or time saved. Can you offer innovative options or substitutes?
Are they buying related products elsewhere that you could also provide? I had one steel bar manufacturing client also move into other steel related construction materials. Their customers were happier because they saved money and acquisition time. The client had a high revenue and a retained customer.
2. Make sure you are performing at the highest level to meet or exceed their expectations.
What other sources of value can you provide? Review the service ticket issues and resolutions from your CRM System. Are there re-occurring areas that need to be addressed?
Get feedback from a customer satisfaction survey. A good CRM will have have integration of the survey results, linked to the responding contact.
Go farther. How have Net Promoter scores changed? Are customer more favorable in recommending you to other businesses?
3. Make sure the customer is aware of your value.
Don't assume the customer understands the extent to which your company and YOU are meeting or surpassing their requirements with every interaction and order.
Arrange a meeting with customer executives to provide an update. This is also a great opportunity to re-connect and cover your USP-unique selling proposition. You'll be surprised on how a face-to-face meeting will strengthen the business relationship.
4. Look for new ways to address the customer business issues and concerns.
Ask how you can provide additional value and benefits that will help the customer to succeed. Consider the expertise of your sales reps. As the first line of customer contact, can they serve as business partners in solving problems and advancing the customers' goals?
Developing innovative ways to impact business results will differentiate you and your product or service.
5. Look at your CRM system - an appreciating asset of knowledge.
Success with a CRM system can easily provide insights gained from the communication notes from the sales person, the account manager, the Customer service representative, and others that interacted with the customer.
One of the common reports we provide to our CRM clients is a listing of customers who have not had any communication contact for 30 or more days. (No email, no phone calls, no meetings, no purchases).
Are you using various methods of contact for staying "Top of Mind" with the customer base- email, newsletters, direct mail, blog postings, etc?
Are there trends being noticed in their responses from your marketing automation - a drop off in email opens or content clicks? Hopefully no unsubscribes.
Maintaining a keen awareness of your customers' issues and concerns and taking steps to strengthen your relationships can make the difference between falling behind and continuing to thrive.
What are you really doing to Strengthen Your Customer Relationships?