It doesn’t matter how big or small your company is. It doesn’t matter if you’re B2B or B2C or B2monkeys. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling widgets or whatsits or high-end consulting-on-a-stick. Each business has the same single, most valuable asset and many of them squander it on a daily basis. I blame marketing.
You see most marketing has a pretty big blind spot when it comes to existing customers. Most marketing is all jacked up about getting leads and landing the next customer. Most marketing is kind of a jerk when it comes to loyalty and longevity. It behaves more like a sleazy operator who is only out for a one-night stand. This type of marketing is deeply immersed in the “hunter mindset” – you know – the one that’s all about “targeting” and “capturing.” (…or, putting notches in the headboard. Eww.)
Where’s the sense in that?
Why go to all the effort of “capturing” new business if you’re just going to dump it the next day for the hot, new thing that walked through the door? How about instead of leaving your customers for dead, you took the time to nurture your relationship? Tell me, what are you doing to keep the romance alive?
Too many brands respond to that question with a blank stare. Mistake.
That’s how affairs start. Take your customers for granted and their hearts will start to wander. They might suddenly look up and realize that the grass looks a lot greener on some other brand’s front lawn. That spells trouble for you on multiple fronts. Not only do you potentially face being dumped, you are losing out on your easiest and most profitable sales opportunities. It’s a well-known fact that it’s less expensive to sell to an existing customer than to land a new one. Lose a customer and you’re literally losing profits right off the bottom line.
So – what should you do?
To keep your customers deeply in love with you, you have to continue to woo them long after you’ve initially won their business. Make them feel special. Show them you care (talk is cheap, people). Listen to them and pay attention. Skip the flowery whispered nothings and deliver the real goods. Be there when they need you. Keep your promises. Fess up when you screw up and – for the gods’ sakes – say you’re sorry.
Still not sure where to start? Here’s a quick brainstorm of ideas for small (and big) ways you can show your customers you still think they are all that and a side of fries:
- Create and deliver a stellar customers-only newsletter with insider tips, tricks, specials, and events
- Offer customer-only access to in-house experts via webinars, forums, or live Q&A calls
- Publish content that’s designed to serve the needs of customers (instead of to sell prospects)
Ask them what they are thinking (and listen when they tell you)
- Run routine satisfaction polls
- Have a prominent feedback form or “idea box” on your site – actually read (and respond to) submissions
- Do bi-annual customer survey that lets them get really in-depth with feedback
- Deputize key customers to help you make your products and services better – invite them to participate in internal conversations, give them a seat at the table
Say thank you
- Don’t take any customer loyalty for granted – show your appreciation all the time
- Offer special deals – give stuff away
- Surprise them – delight them – give them something to talk about
- Remember the power of the “just because” gift … no strings attached
In short, be real and treat your customers the way you’d like to be treated.
Your customers truly are your most valuable asset and they deserve your deep appreciation and undying loyalty. Deliver that and you’ll have a customer for life and an evangelist for your brand. It doesn’t get better than that.
What are you doing today to make your customers feel loved? What can you do tomorrow?