Looking after your current customers

Farmer Copley olivesYou’ve probably heard it said many a time that keeping  a current customer is much easier than gaining a new customer.  Whilst I’m sure everyone is aware of this, it still surprises me at how much time and energy is invested in gaining new customers, but often almost no time or little time is devoted to looking after the current customers.   And these are the ones that are currently paying your bills!!

When you’re just starting out it is much easier to look after your customers when you only have a few local ones that you can pop in and say hello to and check they are happy with their order or need a new order.   However, it’s when the business grows and processes aren’t put in place that the customer service and follow up can drop off.  Especially with the excitement of new and bigger customers!

It’s critical however, to treat every single customer, big or small with the same respect and attention.   Here’s just a few tips of how putting in place a Customer Service/Follow Up plan can ensure that you are keeping everyone happy (well as happy as possible!)

  • Key – is having the plan! How often you will be contacting your regular customers (weekly?  monthly? it may be different for different customers) Will you email them or phone them? (I recommend a mix)
  • Have an objective for contacting them – have they got enough stock?  do they need any more pos?  To tell them about new products? To let them know about any awards/pr coverage/good news stories.  To offer them sampling?
  • Make sure you ask them questions and listen too – have they got any events coming up that you can support? Are they opening any new stores/doing any refurbs of your category?
  • Automate as much as you can (obviously phone calls can’t be automated) whilst still retaining the personalisation of the mails.
  • Surprise and delight them occasionally – how about a letter in the post when they’ve been your customer for a year offering them a discount off their next order (if they order a new product for example)
  • Last but not least – make sure you set some time aside in your diary to ensure you make the calls/send the emails/letters.

This follow up and customer service is equally as important for your direct online consumers – and my next blog will be covering this topic.   In the meantime if you have any questions at all on the above do drop me a line at j[email protected]