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Keeping in Touch With Your Customers

By: Alison Daniels - Updated: 11 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Customer Contact Management System

It’s generally recognised that it’s more difficult to attract new customers to buy from you, than to keep existing clients buying your products and services. Repeat business will probably make up the bulk of your sales. This is why insurance companies and membership organisations offer better deals to prospective members than to those who have been loyal for years. As someone who is trying to build business, it would be a mistake to ignore your existing customers in favour of chasing new ones.

Do your Customers Understand What you Have to Offer?

Many businesses are surprised to find their customers associate them almost exclusively with one type of product or service and aren’t aware of the full offering. Providing information about the other things you do, as well as new products and services can be a useful starting point for regular communicating with your customers.

There are a number of easy, low-cost, methods of keeping in regular touch with your existing customers.

Give Them a Call

This is probably the simplest option. It also provides you with the opportunity to find out what’s going on with your customers, pick up market information, understand their plans and provide you with inside information. It will also help build your relationship. How often you call will depend on the nature of your business, but always remember that you’re a supplier, not a stalker!

Pay a Visit

There’s nothing to beat a face to face meeting to cement business relationships, so make a point of meeting your clients this way on a regular basis. If you are a small company, or work from home it may be better to meet at your client’s office as this will be more convenient for them.

Write a Note

If one of your customers has done you a favour, such as referred a new client or one of your suppliers has done a great job, then send a card with a message of thanks. It’s more personal than an e-mail and will probably make them even keener to help you in the future. If your contact is getting married, has passed an exam, had a baby, or some other important personal life event, then a small, well-chosen gift and card is appropriate.

Send a Newsletter or Magazine

One of the most effective ways of letting your customers know what’s new is to send a newsletter or corporate magazine. This needn’t be expensive and you can reduce costs further by delivering it online, though a hard copy will be read for longer.

Offer a Discount

Contacting regular customers to offer a discount or loyalty scheme, especially if this will help you extend the range of products and services you offer them or if it will bring you new business.

Hold an Event

This will take more effort to organise and can be an expensive option, but getting your customers and appropriate media contacts together on a regular basis to share and gather information can be very rewarding. This could take the form of an open day, seminar, business lunch or breakfast, party, focus group or new product launch.

If you have a lot of customers, it may be better to organise your customer contact programme by using a simple Customer or Contact Management System (CRM). There are many of these on the market with different price points and features. Many offer free trial periods. A little research should help you find a suitable system.

There are many ways of keeping in touch, and you will know which will work best for your customers. Some people like to meet in person, some prefer to talk on the phone and others like to work by e-mail or over a drink. Matching your methods to your customer’s preferences will help you build a stronger business relationship and continue to build your revenue streams.

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