Profit from customer care
Social media has made it quick and easy to keep in touch with clients (notice we are publishing this on a Friday…. follow Friday for @MAXXDesign anyone?) but do we keep in mind WHY it so important to keep in contact and provide great service to current clients? It can cost as much as 6 times more to attract a new client than to get business out of our existing ones. But often we judge success on how many new accounts we secure rather than realising the true potential of the clients we already have.
In larger organisations the marketing department and the customer service department are often totally separate, not only physically – but also in their strategic objectives. However, things are beginning to change as more of us appreciate that good customer care is the single most important factor in securing client loyalty. Especially when social media and the internet makes customer feedback so instant and public.
Loyal customers buy more, buy more often, are generally more profitable than new customers AND are far more likely to refer new prospects. In fact, loyal customers can be a valuable sales force working on your behalf! A renowned experiment* for a building products company in the United States a few years ago divided a group of top customers in half. Group 1 was left alone unless a customer made a request, in which case the customer was given the usual care and attention they had grown to expect. The other group was contacted on a regular basis by two senior personnel who did not try to sell but just asked about their needs, followed up on bids and quotes, scheduled product training, reminded them of special offers, gave product comparison and samples. The outcome after 6 months was pretty conclusive; Group 1 made 8% fewer orders and those placed were 14% smaller than those placed in the six months previously. Group 2, however, placed 12% more orders than they had in the previous six months and also the value of the orders placed was 14% greater than the time before the test. Key to the success of Group 2 was the fact that the customers were good customers to start with so their potential to buy more was far greater than those with whom there was a more fragile relationship. This research shows us that good customer service is not just an optional extra - it is essential and can prove highly profitable.
If you give equal consideration to customer service and retention as to generating new business when you are planning your marketing strategy, the long-term effect can increase your sales turnover and ultimately the profitability of your business.
* A M Hughes, Database Marketing Institute, June 2009