by: Jan Loyola
Any decent businessman knows that finding and building relationships with new customers is far more expensive and time-consuming compared to keeping existing client relationships.
Any successful business, no matter what industry, has a program or policy in place that maintains contact with existing customers. If your business does not already have a policy to regularly contact your existing customers, then you should seriously think about implementing one now.
Keeping contact with your loyal customers is important, and for this, emails simply would not suffice. There are plenty of other ways for your company to keep contact with your clients. You can set up regular appointments, either online through open forums, conference calls, and group discussions, or you can plan seminars, conventions and symposiums. To keep your customers attending your set appointments, you can motivate them by offering discount coupons to the members who stay till the end of the meeting, or even an additional free service for a limited period. A good idea would be to keep the tone of the meeting in a cordial manner; let your customers think of it simply as a get together with friends. The goal of these meetings should be “how you can improve your service” and “how to help your clients more”.
Another great way would be to send direct mail to your customers every once in awhile. Take note not to send mass produced letters whose only personalizing trait is the “Dear Mr/Ms/Mrs…”. Take the personalization up a notch by mentioning important details about their business or a recent marketing campaign. For example, if your business is a lead generation service provider, you can send a direct mail congratulating your customers on the success of their recent lead generation campaign, an achievement which would not be possible without their much appreciated guidance.
You can also make your business relationships more personal by going the traditional route and sending out yearly holiday and birthday cards. Don’t just send your greeting cards through email though, these can easily be mistaken as junk mail and never read. Go really traditional. Purchase or design your own greeting cards and have your messages handwritten, not just printed. It could be as simple as a generic “Happy nth Birthday!” or “Happy Holidays from — Company”. It may take more effort, but your clients will feel your sincerity more for doing so.
You should try to extend your communication efforts not only to your loyal clients, but also to your most recent customers. You should clearly express that your customers need not exert too much effort just to avail of the privileges of your VIP clients, and that they can attain the VIP status by simply allowing you to serve them.