Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Maintaining existing customers.

In today's times it is as important as ever to maintain existing customers and keep them happy. As I am sure you are aware, I speak from a sales perspective.

In speaking on this topic today, I want to assume that the service side of the house has done a great job taking care of the customer and they are happy with your services. (However, you always want to review the service tickets prior to on site visits. Nothing worse than finding out there have been problems and you get blindsided)

So A couple of questions that seem to come up.

1. How often do you see a customer? Well, it depends. However here is a rule of thumb. If you can, stop by once a quarter. Just a drop by and hopefully your contact is available to have a 10 minute discussion. If nothing else, you get to keep up contacts within the company. You see other people in the office change and other things. I would minimum set one appointment per 6 months. IE it is scheduled and you have an agenda. Then you want to have things like a newsletter, email and other contacts in between.

2. What is too often? You have to respond to the customer and read them. Why not ask? The only person that can tell you for sure is that customer.

3. When do I ask for references? Usually when you finish a project and the customer is happiest. Always check the reference before sending it out! This can be a hard lesson to learn if you do not.

4. Should I wait for the customer to call? We are in the service industry, If the customer has to call you then you are not providing service. Then there is no reason for you. A call center can do this. Take calls.

Really, you have to listen to the customer and ask what works best for them. Some of th things that I have learned is to ask the customer about their best sales person that calls on them. Maybe not in your industry, just in general. My experience has been that only will the person tell you about this person, rather, they will rave about this person. They will give you everything you need to be their personal sales superhero. Every customers superhero salesperson looks differently.

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