We have all heard that it is easier to keep your current customers than to get new ones. And this is very true. However, we tend to forget this and neglect the customers we already have, whilst we offer the world to new customers and give them all our attention.
For a while now I have been thinking how best to remedy this in my business and find ways to better maintain my relationship with my “older” customers. So I want to share with you what I am getting up to, and perhaps this is something that you could use in your business.
I buy a lot of online courses. I have bought courses on Facebook marketing, LinkedIn marketing, Pinterest marketing, email marketing, SEO etc. etc. I love this way of learning for so many reasons. I don’t need to be at a specific place at a specific time, I can always go over things again if I need to, and they provide easy step-by-step instructions. Very often these courses are accompanied by closed, members-only, Facebook groups where participants can interact, ask and answer, discuss and just in general help and support each other. The instructor is also there regularly to answer questions and take part. This means that you not only have constant access to the materials but you always have someone you can look to for help. Of course you can’t just take, take, take, you must also give in the form of helping others and answering questions ;)
Another thing that a group like this does for the instructor of the program is that they can keep in touch with their customers and thereby continue to build the relationship with them.
I had been thinking for a long time about this as a way to keep in touch with my customers before I did it. So I decided to invite my current and “old” clients, that have gone through my training program, to join. I wanted to build an active and lively group of great people that want to master marketing for their business, support each other and share advice and ideas. Something much greater than I can provide on my own. People have really liked the idea and most of my clients have joined. This has been just great. There are useful and lively discussions and exchange of information, and I myself am do my very best to make it so by checking in regularly, answering questions and taking part.
How could you use something like this to continue building your relationship with your customers? Here are a few ideas.
- Are you a financial advisor or do book-keeping? Set up a group with all your clients where they can exchange advice and ideas. Go in regularly and answer questions, share useful information, remind them of tax deadlines and other useful stuff to do with their finances and book-keeping.
- Are you a personal trainer? Have a group where your clients can share recipes, great exercises and even encourage them to share their results with the group so that everyone can celebrate with them. Answer questions regularly, share recipes, exercises and advice – or just fun and motivational stuff. How about a YouTube video of a great party song on a Friday?
- Are you in tourism services and get a lot of foreign tourists? Have a group on Facebook for “insiders” – those that have come to you before, and encourage them to share photos, stories and advice. Add people as soon as they book with you, so that the activity on the group, information shared etc. can work to make them look forward to their trip even more. Have useful information, use the photo album and files for things like what can be done in your area, maps, information about hiking trails, opening hours for the local swimming pool or whatever they may find useful and interesting. Be the place for them to go to to get information and ask questions by sharing information and answering the questions they pose.
You can do this in a lot of different ways. You can use Google Groups, LinkedIn groups, Google+ Communities or Facebook groups all depending on your industry and where your target group is most active. For many, Facebook is the place to be, so certainly for my Icelandic group, that’s where I am basing it. Better for you to come to where they are than to try to drag them to you somewhere else ;)
Wow, this is going to be a lot of work, you may think. Yes and no. Yes, sure it can take time and work to get the group active, but it can also give you a lot – a lot more than many other things you are no doubt spending your time and energy on. Remember, with this it is not just you giving, but people are also giving to each other – and you are giving to people who already know you. You are strengthening your relationship with your customers even further and increasing the chance of repeat business and referrals.
And this can also just be so much fun! :)
Tell me how you could use this for your business in the comments!
Availing customers is easy but the real thing is to retain them. I’ve lost lots of customers because of our poor customer service, that’s why I’ve replaced my staff with the old one and now we’ve a better team to manage relationships with customers.
Customer service is so crucial, and yes you are right, sometimes you just have to get new people if you can’t make changes with the ones you have.
Nice article all service industries people.
Thank you. I’m glad it helped.