How To Maintain Customer Relationships
Although the focus of this blog (and of most Internet marketing campaigns) is lead generation, there’s a danger in going too far. As any business owner knows, adding customers is infinitely more desirable than replacing customers. If you neglect your existing customers and take them for granted, you’ll be running on a lead generation treadmill, adding new business — if you’re lucky — at the same rate you’re losing it.
Customers want to feel appreciated, wanted, needed, valued. Some may even want to feel as though they are the center of your universe. Here are 10 ways to keep those feelings stoked and keep your customers in the fold.
- Send greeting cards (yes, with stamps and envelopes) on two or three occasions every year.
- Send or deliver gifts. Before doing so, make sure you understand the company’s gift policy. Some companies discourage or don’t allow employees to receive gifts from suppliers.
- Be careful how you market promotions aimed at new customers only. Current customers feel left out when they can’t take advantage of your deal.
- In light of the above, run promotions of which existing customers can take advantage.
- Consider implementing a formal rewards program that builds loyalty and encourages customers to buy additional items/services.
- Visit customers from time to time to review how things are going. This is crucially important in B2B. How often you do this depends on the size of the customer, as well as the customer’s expectations and location.
- Have multiple employees establish relationships with multiple customer contacts. When a customer relationship hinges completely on one relationship, that customer is very vulnerable should personnel or circumstances change!
- Run an email campaign geared to customers, one that provides valuable insights and/or offers exclusive buying opportunities. Customer emails tend to have very high open rates and conversion rates, since the mailing list is predisposed to like you. Take advantage of this terrific marketing opportunity.
- Entertain customers in appropriate ways. Even a simple lunch here and there can create a long-lasting sense of loyalty. Always try to entertain within the scope of standard practices in your industry.
- Be careful not to lavish too much attention on customers. This can make them uncomfortable or even suspicious that they are spending too much.