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Communicating with your customers

We know that our existing customer is our most important asset, one which demands careful nurturing.

Regular communication makes it easier for us to sell to them in the future, because they will have become used to our acknowledgement of their custom.

With electronic methods staying in touch is quick, simple and inexpensive. We must ask all our customers for their email address and whether they would mind receiving information from us. Businesses which have a client rather than a customer interaction (e.g. a beauty salon or a Bed & Breakfast establishment) are in an ideal situation to do this, but virtually any retail business can and should give it a try.

Any excuse should be used to communicate with them, and some ways of staying in touch are:

  • Following up on a sale. A simple “thank you for your custom” approach is always appreciated. It stimulates positive word-of-mouth testimonials and is a good way to commence an ongoing communication relationship
  • Enquire whether a product or service was to their satisfaction.
  • Newsletters about your business, its environment, or containing articles on your specific industry. A B&B could send out a newsletter reporting on past and forthcoming events in their area.
  • Keeping them informed of changes or improvements to your products, business, or its services. A direct message lets you give far more detail than a normal advertisement. Plus, you won’t be paying to talk to people who have no interest in your message.
  • Letting them know in advance of any special offers you have planned.
  • Keeping them informed of any address or contact changes.
  • Keeping them informed about anything that might affect or interest them, or that enhances the image of your business. Pavements being mended; easier parking, extended trading hours, new facilities.
  • Try to be aware of personal events regarding your customers. Weddings, births, promotions – anything that can act as an excuse to make contact. Add the information to your database.
  • Use a special event as an excuse to communicate, such as a major sports game. I get a great response whenever I send out special emails (with graphical elements) just before our national side plays test rugby, wishing my clients an enjoyable game. I’m not selling them anything, but it shows I’m thinking of them.

Yes, it does take a bit of effort, but if done correctly the results make it worth while.

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