Any business that provides a product or a service — so yes, every business — must always be thinking of new strategies and tactics to attract new customers. Businesses can’t grow unless new customers come knocking.
But there’s one problem with this single-minded thinking to business development. Too much time spent on generating new business through inbound marketing tactics means not enough time spent on creating a positive customer experience. Making a sale must be the start of a relationship, not the end of a successful campaign.
The real value to every business is in developing a strategy that focuses on retaining customers; business owners (or the person responsible for business development) need to go beyond the sale and focus on creating a positive customer experience.
And the number one and only tip we have to this effect is constant communication.
It’s not enough to occasionally check in and ask for feedback on whether you’re doing a good job. It’s more important to show your customer the value you’re adding on a regular basis — especially if your business is a service-based one. In other words, make sure your customers clearly understand what they’re getting for their money.
Send minutes after every meeting. Doing so shows your customers that you were not only paying close attention and listening to their needs during the meeting, but that you are also diligent in following up and outlining action items. This follow up shows your customer that their business is a priority for you as well as assures them that the wheels continue to spin behind the scenes.
Show reports and metrics on a regular basis. Like meeting minutes, regularly providing these statistics shows progress and the positive effects your efforts are having on their business.
Itemize your invoices. This concept is commonly overlooked by business owners, making it a huge missed opportunity for communication. Simply sending an invoice with a total cost and a statement that reads “For professional services” does not give a customer a good sense of whether they are wisely investing their money. When we at Smart Foundations send an invoice, all actions taken that month are listed. For example, a typical invoice may include items such as:
· Website coordination
· Write/edit website copy
· Project planning sessions
· Bi-weekly account management meetings
· Newsletter copywriting
· Provide eMarketing design template
· Prioritization and planning of target market initiatives
· Prioritization and setup of social media channels
· Managing CASL-compliant database for eMarketing
By itemizing invoices, customers see that there is a whole lot of work going on behind the scenes, work that they don’t have to do themselves.
And by maintaining constant, effective communication, you’ll build a true understanding of value. Ask us how to get going on the right course.