By Dick Wooden on July 16, 2013 at 7:52 PM
It cost six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than it does to sell additional services or products to current customers.
So, what are you doing to make sure you understand what your current customers need and how you can continue to help them?
Here are a few ideas that can help. Some are processes, some are system driven. Both will help you maximize your revenue from customers you already do business with and reduce your customer churn.
Keep a clear catalog or list of the products and services your customers have purchased. Anonymous purchases make repeat sales extremely difficult - this is where having a loyalty program that ties purchases to specific a person or business makes a huge difference. And be sure that your accounting or customer relationship management (CRM) system is being used by your staff to track all that you can about your customers. Better yet, show prior sales history directly with your CRM system, sales reps love this capability!
After you acquire a new customer, reach out often and early and ask if they need help. If you are dealing with Do-it-Yourself customers, then have resources and tips you can point them towards if they don't want to pay for consulting or a service call.
Have the digital resources located in your CRM Library so it's quick and easily available to satisfy those customer requests.
Survey your customers frequently - at least once a year - to give them the opportunity to give you feedback. Yes, you will hear negative things, but those are opportunities to improve or change.
Train your customer service or tele-reps how to handle a less-than-positive call. They are going to hear negative things from customers. The staff on the front lines need to know how to use the systems to understand what has happened previously and what the contact history has been. And they need to know what the guidelines are for their response and resolution to a problem. Track these issues and resolutions within your CRM system so its easily shared with others. Sales reps must know about theses too!
Clearly understand the total lifetime value of a customer. Having a clear understanding of how much a customer is really worth to you can expand your thinking. Knowing this number assists you in making a decision around what you are willing to do to keep them and make them satisfied if they are experiencing problems. Having good systems for accounting, relationship management and service reporting can make all the difference. Obviously the CRM system is critical here.
Have offers for current customers. You probably hate it when you see your cell phone company offer a better deal for new customers then you are getting. Don't put your customers in that situation. What special offers, training, information, etc., can you give to your customers to help them understand they are special - still.
Build a customer community: Helping your customers interact with each other, and with you, makes them more likely to stick around. After all, we like being part of a community.
It is FAR less expensive to keep current customers and sell more to them, than it is to find new ones. And you are much more likely to get referrals from customers that have gotten value from the relationship with you - which also helps grow your business.
So take a long hard look at how you are servicing and communicating with your current clients. Look at your systems for tracking all your interactions and transactions with them. There likely are some opportunities there that you are missing.