Guest post from Method
Existing customers are, in some regards, an even better source of potential revenue than a new customer might be.
Why? Well, all the heavy lifting is already done you’ve established a relationship, shown them how great your product or service is, and earned their trust.
Why not build on that existing relationship to create further business?
Here are a few ways you can help to foster new business from existing customers.
1. Anticipate Your Customer’s Needs
What kind of product or service does your company offer? Chances are it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. I’ve written about anticipating the needs of customers before, but there are plenty more ways to consider.
For example, I don’t have much time to clean to my standards, so once a month I employ the services of a local cleaning company. However, the company doesn’t deal strictly in cleaning: they also employ repair personnel, plumbers, and even provide furniture-building services if you don’t feel like putting together that IKEA shelving unit. The company gets the word out to existing customers about these additional services by leaving pamphlets at the end of cleaning sessions and through regular email blasts to existing customers. This is a great way for them to position themselves in the long term by anticipating their needs in advance.
Pro Tip: If your product performs best when serviced after 4 months of use (e.g. an appliance), schedule a recurring activity for the customer when that product is purchased to make sure you anticipate the service needed ahead of time.
2. Provide Loyalty Incentives
A customer that feels important is more likely to provide return business (and also to recommend your product or service to potential leads!). Don’t feel bad about providing some preferential treatment to your loyal customers.
Here’s one you’ll be familiar with. Many coffee shop chains offer a variety of “keep coming backâ€ promotions, like “buy nine coffees and the tenth is freeâ€. Also consider the popularity of “members-onlyâ€ reward clubs wherein customers earn points towards future purchases long-term rewards can often translate into consistent return business!
Pro Tip: Create a custom field in the Contacts Table in Method CRM to document when a contact has referred a new customer. After your contact has referred three new customers, send them an email offering a complimentary service!
3. Be Accountable
Ultimately, what keeps customers coming back is their satisfaction with your company. However, even a bad experience can be spun into return business if it’s handled properly. As a customer, my impression of a business isn’t just determined by how well they do their job it’s also how they deal with screw-ups on their end.
A few years ago I bought a pair of boots from MooShoes in New York. The store wasn’t the manufacturer of the defective product, but when I emailed them to request a refund, their team made themselves accountable for my issue. Their turnaround time was exemplary, and they guided me step-by-step through the return and refund process even comping the shipping costs for the return! I won’t buy that brand of boots again, but I definitely recommend MooShoes as a retailer because of the way they turned a frustrating experience into a satisfying conclusion almost overnight.
It might be tempting to think of generating additional business from existing customers as milking a stone, but that’s just not the case instead, you should think about it in terms of the old fairy tale about the goose who laid golden eggs. If you treat your customers the way you always have (with respect, with great service, and with products and services they can rely on), they will continue to support your business for a long time to come.