Customer Relationship Management Article
Keys to Good Customer Service
This customer relationship management article is about cultivating great customers. At the end of the day, business is not really about selling a particular product or service. It is about finding buyers who will gladly pay to buy those particular things from you.
It was Thomas Barratt, chairman of soap manufacturer A&F Pears, and father of modern advertising, who said, “Any fool can make soap, it takes a clever man to sell it." He could not be more right!
Sure, some products produced today are so exceptional that people will spread the word and help to sell them without advertising. For the most part, however, you need to work hard to find customers to purchase your products or services.
The selling process can be complicated but in today's customer relationship management article, I am sharing some keys to good customer service to help you develop and cultivate the best possible customers for your business. Take the following suggestions in this customer relationship management article seriously.
1. Build a Customer Database
Whether you are just starting out or you have been in business for years, maintaining a database containing information about those people who purchase your products and/or services is critical. At the very least, gather information such as their name, address and phone number. Try to keep track of what they buy, how often they buy and how much they spend with you. This is very valuable.
I cannot impress on you strongly enough that your customer and/or prospect list is the single most important business asset you own, so you need to be capturing this data and keeping it backed up in a safe place!
Consider for a moment if you were to have an office fire and all your office space and inventory was lost. Yes, that would be a tremendous loss, but all of those material things can easily be replaced. You will be quickly back in business if you know who your customers are and able to get back in touch with them. However, if you lost that list of all of your past purchasers, you would be back to square one in your business, having to spend all kinds of money advertising to rebuild your customer database.
2. Rate Your Customers
With the information you have captured in your customer database, rank them according to how much they spend and how often they buy from you. Develop a simple system to assign a value of 1 through 4 or A through D to help you easily identify your best and most profitable clients.
3. Focus Most of Your Efforts on the Most Profitable Clients
I have talked elsewhere about the 80/20 rule and how important it is to consider in your business. In case you are not familiar with it, the 80/20 rule basically states that roughly 80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers, so it is important that you spend more time focused on the 20% of your customers who bring you the most business and try to find more just like them!
4. Find Ways to Increase Buying Frequency
Once you know who your best customers are, those that are most likely to purchase from you again, find ways to sell more products or services to them more often. You can offer new products or services that compliment what you currently sell, or perhaps encourage them to join an auto-order program where you ship them a certain amount of product each month.
For example, consider major supermarkets and the loyalty programs that many of them use to get customers back into their store. By providing you with a discount card or key-tag that provides you with savings on certain products of theirs, they ensure that you come back to them more frequently and they keep you from visiting their competitors.
Hair salons use this small business marketing strategy to provide users with a punch card or other way to track their purchases. They give their clients a free haircut or style after they have purchased ten or twelve services. The offer of a free haircut may seem insignificant to some, but many customers are loyal to those businesses for years rather than risk losing their free haircut!
Such loyalty programs may cost the business a few dollars up front for providing the free service, but it is much less expensive to keep an existing client in this way instead of having to advertise to find a new one.
5. Develop Life Long Relationships With Your Customers
This is perhaps the best marketing idea found in this customer relationship management article. Because it costs as much as ten times more to get a new customer than it can to keep an existing one, it is in your best interest to keep your current clients satisfied and encourage them to refer others to you.
Do this by taking time to get to know your customers personally meeting their particular and personal needs as best as possible, especially by appreciating and thanking them for their business.
Take heed of this customer relationship management article and do this well and you will soon have an army of happy clients referring new business to you while you are able to reduce your marketing expenses and make even more money in your business!
I trust you are convinced to turn your attention to cultivating great clients and customers. Build relationships not simply for the sake of making a buck, but to serve others and help solve their problems. Using these keys to good customer service will help your reputation grow and so will your business.
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