As more and more businesses suffer from the economic downturn the instinct is to cut costs, to hunker down, to ride it out. Businesses slow down, avoid risks and start acting like a turtle.
You could do that.
But it would be more productive to act like a puppy. A hyperactive roly poly, drooling Labrador retriever puppy.
Why? Because puppies are willing to make new friends and they’re loyal to existing ones.
You should be a puppy. But approach your customers a little more scientifically than a puppy approaches his friends. (And with a lot less slobber and noise.)
It’s 3-5 times more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to keep them. So first, focus on your existing customers. What can you do to keep them coming back? And no, the first answer isn’t to slash prices.
Segment Your Customers
Identify your best customers in terms of sales. How often do you communicate with them? Are there other products you can cross sell to them?
What about your best customers in terms of number of purchases? Those purchases may be for smaller dollar amounts than the first group, but those sales will add up. You’ll most likely need a different strategy to sell to them.
Review Your Customer Service Policies And Procedures
When was the last time you revamped your customer service policies and procedures? Do your employees write thank you notes to customers who’ve just made purchases? Are those employees less busy now? That means they have more time to write notes and to pick up the phone and contact good customers.
Retailers, are you happy with the way your staff greets customers when they enter the store? Is your staff more concerned about inventory or displays than working with customers? You might want to rethink that.
Get your employees together and brainstorm ways to build stronger relationships with existing customers.
Review And Improve Your Processes
Got a business Web site? Here’s a great post that lists seven tips to improve your Web site.
Get your employees together and brainstorm for ideas to improve your relationships with existing customers and to attract new ones. Reward and recognize those employees who make actionable suggestions.
It’s more fun being a puppy than a turtle.
Be sure and read more of my posts at Customer Service Experience here.