It can be challenging to stay in touch with customers, current and former.
Small business owners wear many hats and are very busy. Even if there is a small staff in place, a great deal of the decision-making and general day-to-day business operations fall of their shoulders. It’s easy for some things to get lost or assigned a lower priority.
One of the things that often gets pushed down on the list is making time to stay in touch with customers. Yet, staying in touch with customers should be given as much priority as Marketing and Sales. Why is this so important?
Stay in Touch with Current Customers
- Staying in touch with your current or existing customers consistently, builds the relationship, and creates a bond that affects the emotions. Your customers will get to know like and trust you even more. When your customers are emotionally attached to you they’re less likely to defect to your competition.
- Keeping in touch works in tandem with Marketing and Sales. It can contribute to effective marketing because surveys and feedback from your current customers empower you to identify what’s working and what may need to be improved in your marketing strategy. At the same time, your sales will improve as your customers become repeat buyers. You also have an opportunity to cross-sell and upsell.
- When you stay in touch with customers you’re able to educate them and position yourself as the expert in your market. Let your customers know what you’re doing in your business. Large corporations have credited the success of some of their products to the suggestions and recommendations of their customers as they kept them updated during product creation.
Customer Service Expert, Shep Hyken noted that “One of the common efforts made by the top producers [areas of business some of his clients were in] is that they stay in touch with their customers and clients. It may be a phone call, a note, an article, an email – whatever – they keep in touch on a consistent and routine basis.”
- If you’re a speaker, share with your customers where you will be speaking. If you’re sponsoring an event or doing something in your community share that with them. People want to see and come to know who you are as a person, not just the business side.
- Many small business owners struggle with consistency. They may intend to contact their customers regularly, say two times per month or even once per month but they become distracted so that months may go by with no contact. The effect of this is that you will be perceived as being unreliable and your customers could lose trust in you. Since recapturing lost trust is very challenging, making a schedule to stay in touch and sticking to it is important.
Stay In Touch with Former Customers
While we hope that customers remain with us for their lifetime, this is generally not the case. At some point, they leave and the reasons are not always bad. They may no longer need your product or service, or they may need to move to a higher level.
For example, a business coach may help her client to get to $10,000 per month. Now her client wants to double or triple that. She can continue to support her mindset and together work on strategies. On the other hand, the coach may choose to refer her to someone else who has achieved that level consistently. Another example is a homeowner who has been using a Lawn Maintenance company for several years. Now that they’re moving to a condominium they won’t need this service.
Show How You’ve Grown
Send former customers content that underlines the changes you’ve made to give them a better experience. Highlight new products or systems, and show how these make life better for your audience. Examples could include things like improvements to how you handle customer service, one-touch ordering, or fixes to products based on customer feedback.
Offer Free Educational Opportunities
Customers may have left because they’ve bought your product and did not know how to use it. You may not have had an effective onboarding process in place. You can win them back by offering educational opportunities where you teach them how to get the most out of your product.
This can be done through content or, even better, webinars and training sessions. Engage with your customers personally and show them one-on-one or in groups, ways to maximize their purchase.
It takes time to stay in touch with your current customers, so this is something that has to be included in your formal schedule of activities. It cannot be left to chance. Building relationships with your customers when you keep in touch with them consistently will help to bridge the gap between your efforts to attract them and retaining them on a long-term basis.
It cannot be over-emphasized that when you stay in touch with your customers, as you build relationships, you also build the emotional connection so that your customers get to love you and become your loyal advocates who share with others your products and services.
Do you have a system or systems in place that allow you to stay in touch with your customers on a consistent basis?
If you need help with creating a system, please reach out to me and we’ll have a conversation on this.