Managing The Customer Relationship For Fun And Profit
- Better word-of-mouth marketing
- Improved understanding of your effectiveness
- Shorthand re-marketing of goods and services
Yet, our busy world often rewards us only for new prospects, neglecting those we've won over. But it is easier -- and often far more economical -- to keep a customer than to lose one to a competitor and have to replace the lost customer with a new one.
For existing customers (or even potential prospects), there are some basic tactics to maintaining contact, but the key is being committed. A customer relationship management (CRM) solution can help regulate these tactics, but you can also use any customer database. Here are a few ideas.
Ticklers (also known as Drip Campaigns) -- When you have a new customer, create an automated policy to reach out to them after 20, 40, or 60 days out to see how they are doing. It can be a form-letter type email, or assign a task to a rep to call them, or request they participate in a survey. You'll know if they're happy with your service or product, find out what might be challenging them, or simply thank them with a special offer. You can tickle prospects as well by recording in your CRM when they're likely to buy, and triggering one of the above actions.
Broadcast -- Your customers are busy folks, and most don't have time to proactively track what your business is doing. Today, the ability to broadcast your updates can be incredibly powerful with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, RSS-driven blogs, and a variety of social media. But you also need to have push-able long-form broadcasts that go into detail without having to click in to more information. Email newsletters can accomplish that. With your CRM, you should also be able to create targeted lists for newsletter campaigns so you can hit specific customers with broadcasts tailored around their interests. Just make sure you have a call-to-action in those emails so you can measure their effectiveness.
Deepen the Relationship -- This tactic is one I have found to be the most rewarding, productive, and powerful of all relationship builders: the customer success story. By summoning your inner Charlie Rose, you can capture information about the customer experience, show you care about their needs and goals, promote the story to prospects, use it to teach existing customers, get your staff excited about the work they do, and learn about what parts of your business work and don't work and make adjustments. Who's a candidate for a story? If you use your CRM to track support cases, you can find out who are your most vocal, or most innovative customers.
These tactics aren't complicated, and you can perfect them over time in terms of their frequency, level of information, or approach. The key is to keep it up. You've spent the money to acquire those customers. Take simple, extra steps to nurture and keep them. I'd welcome hearing about other great ideas you use for maintaining your customer relationships. Please let me know and I'll be sure to post them on our blog at www.longjumpblog.com.