Written by Sean McPheat |
Many companies we have worked with have measurements to ascertain the satisfaction of their customers with the products they sell, the back-up services they offer and the overall experience that their customers enjoy.
However, it is possible that you could have a very satisfied customer who doesn’t use your services that often.
It has to be appreciated that satisfaction does not always equal loyalty.
Think about it; how many times have you had service at a restaurant or hotel or similar, been satisfied, but never gone back?
The acid test is your ability to convince your customer they are making the right decision to keep using you and your services.
And it’s that repeat business that brings a loyal customer knocking on your door continuously.
So, how do you become one of your customer’s favourite companies, where they approach you for advice and recommendations and you don’t have to scramble for their business?
Here are some ideas:
Offer your expertise in terms of knowledge and experience
This can be done through blogs, newsletters, LinkedIn posts, emails, articles and the like can show your customer you know enough about their business needs to be of real assistance.
When your decision-makers see the efforts you are making to support their business rather than just sell products, they will believe you have a part to play in the future of their business.
Provide personalise, customised service, based on what they value as important
Often, a customer will feel little more than a number in your little black book as they suffer apathy and lack of interest from their supplier.
To become a favourite with the decision-maker, you need to personalise the contacts you have with them, customising at every opportunity.
Your products may be the same but you can differentiate yourself with your customers with frequent contacts via phone or email, personalised notes to them, invites to lunch to talk about their business and other things that are vital to their business
Offer inputs to their marketing and sales strategies
Customers have their own goals to achieve and their thoughts will be on their own business strategies that will help them achieve those.
If you are able to offer advice and make suggestions as to how they can develop their marketing plans and tactics, you become someone of real value to the decision-makers.
And you give yourselves the chance to sell more products as their marketing successes come to fruition
Get your manager or MD to visit large companies at least once a year
Depending on the size of your business and your customers’ businesses, it may be possible for your sales manager or someone higher in your business to touch base with the decision-maker or others in their company at least once a year, to check on the big picture and how the relationship is going.
These strategic meetings often open up new opportunities and enable you to assess how new business can be gained in the future.
Make the decision-maker a partner in the production of new products and services you can offer
Customer feedback is vital if you are to keep on top of product development and service improvement.
You can get closer to your customers by ascertaining what improvements they would like in your services or you can get them to highlight what product improvements they would like that would increase their abilities to sell more of them.
By partnering with the decision-makers within your customers, you increase opportunities for them to work with you in the future design of ideas and concepts that will keep you ahead of the competition and encourage customers to be loyal to your business
Try out these five factors and see if they have an impact on how your customers’ decision-makers make choices in the future.
Originally published: 29 June, 2017