Look after your customers - or someone else will

Posted by admin on June 18, 2013

PR, sales, customer service - they are all part of the same marketing mix and need to work in harmony. This blog touches on all three. Some you will have heard similar tips before but all of us need reminding of the basics every now and again. Feel free to print off or download this page to your favourites and let me know your thoughts. You may have other tips you can add.

Enjoy the rest of June and enjoy building your business!

There are only three ways to generate more business:

Find new customers

  1. Get better customers – may mean ditching some existing ones
  2. Get existing ones to buy more

It takes 17 times more investment and effort to get a new customer than to get repeat business.

Know Your Customers – The 7 Ws:

  • Who are they? – and who could they be?
  • What do they want – not what do they need?  Become a customer, think like them and sell ‘in line with their thinking – requires detailed knowledge – do research
  • What do they do?
  • Where are they? – How wide is your catchment area – local national, global? Which ones are likely to offer the greatest return on your efforts?
  • Why should they buy from you/are they buying from you?
  • When did they last do business with you?
  • When did you last contact them?

 The Sales Process:

  • When do they buy from you – particular requirement at a specific time of year?
  • When do they come back for more – frequency of purchase?
  • How long does it take from initial contact to delivery of product?

 Customer Care:

  • How do people reach you?
  • How easy is it to do business with you ?
    • Dedicated ‘phone line
    • Do you lose business because people give up trying to navigate the phone choices?
  • Smile when you’re talking on the ‘phone – it really makes a difference
  • How do you follow up enquiries? Do you follow up enquiries?
  • The big secret of how to keep customers satisfied – confidence/reassurance/reliability. Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it - if you don’t, it casts doubt on the quality of your products/service
  • Reliability has special significance – instil confidence at every stage. If you fail to deliver on any aspect of the process, does this indicate poor quality products/ service?
  • How do people judge the quality of your products/service? All ‘evidence’ must confirm/reinforce the quality:
    • Website
    • Literature
    • Professional answering service - what’s your voicemail message like?
    • Samples/estimates
  • If you don’t do what you say you will – someone else will
  • You are often a customer so how would you like to be treated – what annoys you/stops you from buying?

 Reputation:

  • Over deliver – under promise
  • Surprise and delight – do the unexpected
  • Research from Cranfield – Dr Malcolm MacDonald says – If people are pleased with something, they tell 4 people – if they’re unhappy about something, they tell 19 people

How Do You Follow Up After You’ve Completed the Work?:

  • Can you get testimonials/case study material? We can help with this - it's easier to get a third party to do this
  • Can you get referrals?
  • Do you use Evaluation/Feedback Forms? Use these to approach company again

Why Do You Lose Customers?:

  • 15% leave because of price
  • 15% leave because of product
  • 70% leave because of the relationship – perceived indifference

 How Do You Generate Customer Loyalty?:

  • Do what you say you will, in the agreed time for the agreed price
  • Do something unexpected – doesn’t have to cost you financially

 How Do You Track Your Customer Contact?:

  • Dedicated software is worth considering
  • Business cards – always write on them when/where you met the contact, what you talked about and what you said you’d do to follow up (then follow up!)