Small business owners often wear many hats and are very busy. Even if there is a small staff in place, a great deal of the decision-making and general day-to-day business operations fall of their shoulders. It’s easy for some things to get lost or be given a lower priority.
One of the things that often get pushed down on the list is making time to keep in touch with customers. The thing is that keeping in touch with customers should be given as much priority as Marketing and Sales. Why is this so important?
- Keeping in touch with your customers on a consistent basis builds the relationship and creates a bond that affects the emotions. Your customers will get to know like and trust you even more. When your customers are emotionally attached to you they’re less likely to defect to your competition.
- Keeping in touch works in tandem with Marketing and Sales. In fact, it can contribute to effective marketing because surveys and feedback from your current customers empower you to identify what’s working and what may need to be improved in your marketing strategy. At the same time, your sales will improve as your customers become repeat buyers. You also have an opportunity to cross-sell and upsell.
- Many small business owners struggle with consistency. They may intend to contact their customers on a regular basis, say two times per month or even once per month but they become distracted so that months may go by with no contact. The effect of this is that you will be perceived as being unreliable and your customers could lose trust in you. Since recapturing lost trust is very challenging, making a schedule and sticking to it is important.
- When you keep in touch with customers it gives you an opportunity to educate them and position yourself as the expert in your market. Let your customers know what you’re doing in your business. Large corporations have credited the success of some of their products to the suggestions and recommendations of their customers as they kept them updated during product creation.
- If you’re a speaker, share with your customers where you will be speaking. If you’re sponsoring an event or doing something in your community share that with them. People want to see and come to know who you are as a person, not just the business side.
It takes time to stay in contact with your customers, so this is something that has to be included in your formal schedule of activities. It cannot be left to chance. Building relationships with your customers when you keep in touch with them on a regular basis will help to bridge the gap between your efforts to attract them and retaining them on a long-term basis.