Do you remember that Nationwide advert that had the tagline “Brand new customers only”? It succeeded because it hit a nerve. People were fed up with the idea that attracting new and shiny customers was more important than looking after the ones they already had.
When you think about it, looking after your existing customers isn’t just polite, it makes good business sense. You’ve invested time and money in marketing or networking to change that person from a lead into a customer, so why waste it? Your existing customers already know, like and trust you and you can build on that. So how do you go about it?
It’s all about value
There are a lot of similarities between content marketing and taking good care of your existing customers. Content marketing allows you to build a trusting relationship by sharing your expertise. Your prospects can see that you understand their problems and will offer a solution. Showing existing customers that you will continue to provide them with valuable information demonstrates that you’re not just looking to take their money and run.
This can take any form you like; sending regular updates, sharing blogs or even emailing a contact directly with an interesting article that’s relevant to their business. You don’t have to generate all of the content yourself. The fact that you’ve taken the trouble to get in touch keeps you at the forefront of your existing customers’ minds. It’s easy to assume that they will remember you and get in touch if they need your services again, but that isn’t always the case. The marketplace is crowded and there will always be a competitor with a tempting new offer. Reminding your existing customers of the service you provided increases the prospects of securing repeat business. If you’d like to know how this can fit into a marketing strategy that avoids the hard sell, you can get sign up for a copy of my free guide on the subject here
Offer great service
This should be a given. If you’re a sole trader you’re responsible for all of the customer service (along with everything else). However, as soon as you take on employees with a customer facing role, you need to make sure that standards are maintained. Good training is key; you may also want to consider setting out customer service procedures. This doesn’t just have to be for complaints. You could set a standard for answering phone calls, responding to emails or the greeting a customer receives when they enter your premises.
Ultimately, a customer may not remember every detail of your relationship but they will remember how you made them feel. Provide your existing customers with a great experience and you can build on that in the future.
Perks for existing customers
Offering your existing customers an exclusive benefit shows them that you value them. What you choose to offer will of course depend on your budget and the nature of your business. It would be easy for a coffee shop to offer a stamp card where stamps are exchanged for each hot drink purchased and the last drink is free. It’s low cost for you and encourages repeat business.
Obviously you’re not going to take that approach if you run a Bentley dealership. If you don’t want to offer discounts, give your existing customers an experience that’s exclusive to them. You could invite them to a preview showcasing your new product or service. You could collaborate with other related business, for example a hairdresser and beauty therapist or solicitor and financial advisor. Of course, everyone loves a day out so great quality entertainment also has a role to play here if you have the budget for it.
How do you look after your customers? Let me know in the comments!
Some unique customer loyalty programmes from American Express