The headline of this post comes from a blog post by my friend Brian Carroll. His post describes a conversation he had with a client where they discussed how lead generation often ignores current customers. As a result of the discussion, one CEO decided his company would begin focusing more on current customers. He even referred to their new focus as their “Customers First Plan”.
The outcome of their new-found focus on existing customers was revealing. They increased revenue from current customers by 15%. Even better, their referrals jumped over 100%.
As they focused more on existing customers, they no doubt did things that improved their relationships with them. And, probably they learned more what their customers wanted from them, how they were doing and what the current gap was. Perhaps they also took action to improve the service they delivered to their customers. (It makes sense they would.)
By doing all this they delivered a powerful message to their customers: You are important. We are here to serve you.
I’ve seen this happen time and again. When you honestly and sincerely reach out to your customers and ask them how you can do better, you build a stronger relationship. Your customers begin to see you less as a vendor and more as a partner. They see the value in having an ongoing, two-way exchange of ideas, feedback and best practices with you. This increases your value to them.
You become more important to them. You might even indispensable.
I think these numbers show how important this company became to their customers. By increasing referrals over 100%, their customers told them “we trust you”. It’s their way of saying, we want to help. Sometimes, it’s as much about bragging as it is helping. Either way, the increase in referrals is a sure sign this company built tremendous value and better relationships with their customers.
And they did it all by reaching out, by connecting with them. How could you do something similar in your company?