Are you too focused on new sales and neglecting your existing customers?
Most organisations are very customer acquisition focused In the end without customers there is no reason for existence for many companies!
Unfortunately this also means that these companies often neglect one of their most important assets: their current customers. They constantly loose customers and therefore have to gain new customers to grow their business.
As most of you know the cost of getting a new customer on board is a often 5-6 times higher than the cost of keeping an existing customer. The key is to create loyal, happy and profitable customers. With the cost difference between acquiring a customer and keeping an existing customer in mind it is clear that it is a lot easier to create a loyal, happy and profitable existing customer than a new customer.
So what is Customer Relationship Management and how can it help me?
To put it simply customer relationship management is a business strategy used to monitor and manage all interactions with customers, leads and prospects. The trick is to streamline your processes in regards to communications with these contacts and companies.
If these processes are implemented properly the likelihood that opportunities or leads fall through the cracks will be minimised and from a customer service perspective it will help you to respond to customer queries in a timely manner.
For the marketing team it means knowing who to communicate with and when to communicate with them by segmenting customers and recording their individual preferences.
There is plenty written about how to acquire and how to keep customers. Here are some simple tips that will help you form better customer relations.
- Use a system to manage your customers. This does not mean you can’t manage customers without a CRM system (e.g. Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, ZohoCRM) but it will make it a whole lot easier.
- Keep it simple. A common mistake made by small and medium sized businesses is that they want to find a CRM system that does too much. The main aim of a CRM system is to make the life of the users easier; either through better reporting, improving processes or providing more accurate instant information about customers. Make sure what the internal needs are, how people interact with customers on a daily basis and how processes can be improved before dumping a CRM system onto the users that requires them to enter irrelevant data that doesn’t add any value to the business. If you do that it is a sure-fire way to make sure the CRM system will be a failure. To serve your customers best work out how much information you need to collect to allow you to be proactive and to offer excellent customer service.
- Care for you customers. Since your customers are the lifeblood of the business make sure you treat them that way. Provide personalised and truly amazing customer service. Little things came make a huge impact if they are personalised. When you have a small customer base this might be easy to manage but the more customers you get the more you will have to rely on systems to help you stay on course. Customer Satisfaction is not good enough anymore to keep customers. You need to exceed Customer Expectations and deliver value every step of the way.
- Stay in touch with your customers. Make sure you communicate with existing customers on a regular basis. Don’t spam them but regular email campaigns on a weekly or fortnightly basis increases open rates of the emails. The longer you wait the lower the open rates will be. So make sure you communicate frequently so you are always top of mind when they need a problem solved or want to improve something.
- Thank your customers. Thank customers for their business for every transaction. This can be done in multiple ways such as email, social media, phone, letter or what jumps out most is a handwritten thank you note.
- Know why your best customers work with you. Most people think they know why their customers work with them, but you will be surprise how few have it right! Ask your customers why they work with you and not your competitor or better get someone else to ask them. It might surprise you why they do value you. This will help you determine your ideal customer which will reduce the investment require to acquire new customers.
Make sure you always treat customers as you would like to be treated, act with integrity and be honest even if things don’t go smoothly. Customers will understand that it is not always smooth sailing and appreciate you being upfront about issues that may arise.
Peter Dijkema, Client Success Manager, Organon Consulting
A 15-year veteran in the business solutions industry with over 10 years of experience in customer relationship management, Peter Dijkema has worked in numerous sales and marketing roles with major and small technology companies in Europe and Australia. Peter Dijkema is co-founder of Organon Consulting who focus on helping small and medium businesses to serve their customers better, fix the ‘leaky funnel’ and increase revenue and Not-For-Profit organisation improve stakeholder relationship, increase constituent engagement and increase funding. He also act as an advisor around CRM technology decisions and strategies for small businesses.