Customer Service Tips: Why You Need to Maintain Customer Relationships After the Sale
True or False: After you’ve convinced a customer to buy your product or service, your job is done. We hope you responded with an adamant, “False!” It’s like meeting the ideal man or woman of your dreams and being satisfied with just one date. When you find your ideal customer, hang on to them and foster a relationship that will last for years to come.
In this article we focus on sharing the top customer service tips that allow you to truly understand the importance of maintaining and building relationships past the first transaction.
Customer Service Tips on Maintaining Customer Relationships
It is believed that, “65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers, and it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one satisfied.” Successful business owners know this statistic and plan their marketing efforts accordingly.
It will always be more expensive and more difficult to sell to strangers rather than focusing on your current customer base.
What Kind of Customer Relationship Do You Want?
To really understand the differences in effort required, consider these example relationships:
A Stranger. When meeting a stranger on the street, how long will it take you to get their attention; introduce yourself; and give them an idea of what you do for a living? This interaction with a stranger can be equated to trying to gain the attention of a new customer you’ve never interacted with before.
An Acquaintance. Okay, so you now run into someone that you’ve met before; they know your name and what you do. However, since they’re just an acquaintance, they don’t really know you enough to hand over their trust and confidence just yet. This acquaintance can be compared to a lead that you’ve approached in the past, but haven’t earned their business yet.
A Friend. Your walking down the street and you run into your friend. They know all about you; what you do and even your most brag worthy talents. You don’t have to spend too much on this conversation and the situation calls for a quick catch up since you last spoke. This friend is comparable to a satisfied customer that has purchased your product or service in the past.
A Family Member. You step onto the street and see a close family member. Think about how your parents, aunts, uncles all brag about you to their friends and colleagues. They share your accomplishments on their Facebook and are devoted to liking and commenting on all of your big milestones. All you need to do is hug and kiss them when you see them (because you just exchanged emails yesterday). This family member’s devotion and unconditional love is equivalent to a brand evangelist.
We want you to really consider these roles and pick the persona that you believe would be the most loyal (and preferred) customer to communicate with. Hopefully, this little exercise shows you the true amounts of effort needed for each relationship stage.
The Marketing Stages of Engagement
Known in the marketing world as the Stages of Engagement, the process consists of the following stages:
- 1.) Awareness
- 2.) Consideration
- 3.) Decision-Making and Purchase
- 4.) Satisfaction
- 5.) Post-Purchase
- 6.) Referral
Although engagement cycles and/or sales tunnels vary from company to company, these broad stages are pretty standard for any business model. We want to focus our customer service tips on the last two stages.
After your customer has concluded their purchase you may think that they’ll reach out when they need you again. This is not a very proactive approach to generating repeat business. As a business owner in a saturated market, you’ve got to constantly be thinking ahead.
One of the first steps in building your post-purchase relationships is to determine your customers’ wants, needs and expectations. When you know your ideal target market and current customer base, you can continuously fulfill their expectations before even being asked.
Working on developing this close post-purchase relationship will show your customers how dedicated you are to providing excellent customer service. When you continue your communication with customers in their language and on their timetable, you’re demonstrating that your company:
- • Cares more about your customers personally and wants to always be there for them.
- • Knows your customers’ wants and needs so well because you’re an expert in your field.
- • Wants to provide them with easy access to your company whenever they need you.
- • Appreciates their business and listens to their comments and feedback.
Providing a top-notch customer service experience for your current customer base will increase your chances of gaining brand loyalty. If your customers are 100% satisfied with your business’s product or service, they’ll gladly refer their friends and colleagues.
All business owners should want happy, satisfied customers that refer. You can accomplish this by creating referral incentives or implementing an affiliate marketing program to encourage involvement.
Taking referrals a step further, more than satisfied customers; you should want to recruit evangelists of your brand. Evangelism marketing is, “an advanced form of word-of-mouth marketing in which companies develop customers who believe so strongly in a particular product or service that they freely try to convince others to buy and use it. The customers become voluntary advocates, actively spreading the word on behalf of the company.”
Having loyal evangelists in your corner is like having a full sales or brand ambassador team. Their opinions and testimonies are highly trusted by others since they aren’t affiliated with your company or paid for their praises. However, building a relationship to this point takes time and constant attention.
Get Creative and Build Opportunities With These Customer Service Tips
By now, we hope you see the importance in maintaining customer relationships after their initial purchases. Now is the fun part. You get to be as creative as you want to be when developing customer loyalty programs, referral incentives and continued customer support and assistance. Your new goal should be figuring out ways to gain your customers’ trust, friendship and loyalty.