This 3-step communication plan makes your customers feel valued and keeps you from losing business
Anyone who has ever worked in sales knows how hard it is to get a customer. After you convert a new customer, your work doesn’t stop there. Maintaining your current customer base takes a lot of effort too, but it is so important to your business.
You will be shocked to read this, but many of your current customers may be unsatisfied with your company’s services. This surprises me all the time. You have worked with that customer for years. You might even consider them a friend. And then they call in for you to remove all of your toilets. What happened?
What probably happened is that you became too complacent. It happens to the best of us. A repeat customer barely takes up any of your time. You email or call them a handful of times to finalize some orders and then you basically forget about them. They generally aren’t given as much attention as new customers.
So what happened to make them leave? It could be bad service. Or another company offered them a really great deal. The sad thing is that they never came to you with any of these issues so you don’t even have an opportunity to save the business. That is the part that frustrates me the most.
The only way to fix this is communication. Here are three steps that you have to make time for or you will see your customer base slowly being eaten away.
- Attention, attention, attention. Your customers want your attention. They want to know that they are important to you. Take some time on the phone with them and make them feel special. This step is so important.
- Ask for feedback. Routinely call customers and ask how service is. We print out our current route sheets and call all of our customers. We ask how service is and if there are any problems. This allows you to fix problems right away before they get out of hand.
- Grovel when necessary. I am definitely not too proud to beg. I was once awarded a really big job because the customer told me that he couldn’t stand me constantly calling him and begging. I was thrilled to get the job so I didn’t even care that he was basically calling me a stalker. When it comes to selling, I have no shame and if I think a customer is going to leave me, I have even less shame. I will beg and plead to save a customer. Every customer is important and there are only so many customers out there. Begging is a must.
Keeping customers happy takes a lot of finesse and time. But these people allow you to pay your bills, so isn’t that the most important thing? Just remember that the next time you are begging to keep a job.
About the Author: Alexandra Townsend is co-owner of A Royal Flush, based in Philadelphia.