Networking Article from Networking Today Canada, Nat'l
Recent Articles from Cities Across Canada
Maintaining Customer Relationships
You know the saying, "It's easier to keep your current customers than to find new ones." Well, in today's marketplace and economy it's getting hard to keep our current customers, too. This is the time to do something extra – be seen, be heard, be proactive, to follow up.
It doesn't matter what business you're in – doctor, dentist, lawyer, retail, manufacturing, insurance, you name it; we all have customers and losing just one often makes a major impact in your business. So how do we maintain a relationship? What can we do to be special, different, proactive and extra good?
One is to keep your name in front of your customers. A newsletter is one way to maintain a relationship. At least you know we're thinking of you once a month. Staying in front of the customer, unobtrusively, is one of several ways to maintain a relationship.
You see, once you interact with the customer, once they purchase an item from you, they don't like to be ignored. Well, it's not that they don't like it, they really don't understand it. The customers think to themselves, "Gee, I just bought a bunch of XXX from YYY and I never hear from them. They must have forgotten about me."
I remember the copy machine salesman we had a while back. He was very good at the point of sale. But I promise you, we had a better relationship with the repairman (they outsourced it) than we did with the original salesperson.
So in addition to a newsletter or direct mail, all of which are good, we have some other ideas to help you maintain a great relationship with your customers taken from our best selling program Maintaining Customer Relationships.
- Call the customer with a specific reason, such as a follow up call to be sure all is going well. And if you're worried about getting voice mail, here's a great Telephone Doctor tip. Expect and be prepared to reach voice mail. It's gonna happen. So be prepared! Have a ready made, short, sweet and to the point message for your customer. It's not necessary to ask them to call you back (unless there's a very good reason). You can simply make an announcement such as, "Mrs. Jones, this is Bob at Bob's Appliances. I hope your new dishwasher is doing great. Was thinking about you and wanted to say thank you again for your purchase." That's it. Your company name will be in their computer brain. It's a way to maintain customer relationships. (Caution: Don't WING a voice mail. Be prepared!)
- Be proactive. If your contact is no longer at the company, don't just let that go. Let's say you worked with Sue Smith at Fox & Company. And you called to say hello. Whoops, Sue Smith moved on to another company about 3 months ago. Sadly she didn't tell all her vendors that. So you still have her name on your list. You have two choices. You can hang up and move on to another call or you can be proactive and find out who replaced Sue Smith and start a new relationship. You have a great story to tell the new contact because you had a good relationship with Sue Smith. So find out who replaced Sue Smith. Someone is doing her job. Be proactive. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how well you'll be received.
- We have a great saying at Telephone Doctor. Make a few "NUM" calls a day. NUM calls? Don't look it up cuz we made it up. NUM calls stands for NO ULTERIOR MOTIVE. That's right, a simple "I was thinking about you and wanted to say hello" call. Until you do this a few times and get the amazing results we have over the years, you probably won't appreciate the technique. I hesitated to even share it with you. But then, what kind of customer service would that be? NUM calls are great for voice mails and especially if you have the good fortune to reach the customer. Wish someone would give me a NUM call once in a while – that's a rarity.
- Handle all problems immediately. Don't we always you ask? Well ya know, sometimes people put things off, especially when it's unpleasant. And if you need to call a customer back when there's been a problem, the sooner you call them back or handle it in person, the better off you are. And it speeds maintaining a relationship. Ignoring the customer or putting off calling will only make the situation worse. You know the old saying, handling a problem you're getting that ole “second chance.” If you're good at what you do, you probably can help the situation move in the right direction. This is a great way to maintain customer relationships.
- Gain additional business. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to maintain customer relationships. So when you make that NUM call or handle the problem immediately, what do you think your customers will tell others? Right. How good you are! And you can gain additional business by those methods. What do you think I would have told my business associates if that copy salesperson had stayed in touch with us? Right. How good he was. I could have gotten that sales person additional business. By staying away from me I had forgotten him. Not a great method.
There are dozens of other ways to maintain a relationship with your customers. These are just a few.
Nancy Friedman, customer service and sales expert, is available to speak at your association conference or corporate event. Click here for a complimentary DVD demo of Nancy in action. You can also contact Nancy directly via email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your specific needs.
- Calgary, ABDirectoryGroups
- Halifax, NSDirectoryGroups
- Kitchener, ONDirectoryGroups
- London, ONDirectoryGroups
- Ottawa, ONDirectoryGroups
- Regina, SKDirectoryGroups
- Stratford, ONDirectoryGroups
- Toronto, ONDirectoryGroups
- Vancouver, BCDirectoryGroups
- Vancouver Island, BCDirectoryGroups
- Winnipeg, MBDirectoryGroups
- Search by:Directory