Your best source of additional revenue is the customers who are already doing business with you. Learn how to better serve them and you'll spare yourself the trouble and expense of constantly trolling for new prospects. Manage these relationships wisely and you'll be able to:
- Track the buying habits of your customers
- Detect trends so that you can tweak your products or services accordingly
- Decrease sales and marketing costs
- Increase customer retention
Invest in technology to help manage your customer databaseCRM software can help you keep track of customer buying habits, cross sell more effectively, and target your marketing dollars. And costs have come down in recent years as more vendors focus on the small- and midsize-business market.
Create a loyalty program to reward your best customersAll customers are not created equal. Once you've identified your best customers, pamper them with special offers, exclusive discounts and personal communication.
Communicate frequently and meaningfully with customersKeep your company's name on your customers' radar screens by sending out newsy emails or newsletters about your company. Selling is secondary here; the main goal is to keep in touch.
Develop a consistent policy for solving customers' problemsYou can have the best customer service policies in the world, but once in a while, you're going to make mistakes. How you deal with them is the true test of your mettle.
Teach your employees about the lifetime value of a customerAll of your CRM efforts will be for naught if you aren't also teaching your employees about the value of great service and empowering them to deliver it.
Measure the effect of customer relationship managementYou need to know which efforts are generating increased revenue, motivating employees, and delighting customers.
- When you invest in CRM software, don't overspend on technology you don't need, but make sure that whatever system you choose is scalable as your business grows.
- When communicating with customers, don't always default to email; there's also huge value in a hand-written note.
- Keep all customer information you gather absolutely confidential and make sure customers know you're protecting their privacy.
- Remember that you can't expect your employees to treat your customers any better than you treat them!