Most businesses spend time attracting customers to a product or service, trying to win their trust and then ending the whole process with a sale. That tactic seems obvious to most people. What often is neglected is the post-sale follow up with customers, particularly when it comes to online businesses. We should look at the time after a sale as an opportunity not only to improve our products but also to establish long-lasting relationships with our customers.
It takes much more effort to win a new customer than to maintain a relationship with an existing customer. But maintaining current customer relationships is just as critical and I'd even dare to say, more important than gaining new customers. What can we do to keep our established customers feel appreciated? You need to follow up with your customers.
Following up may be as simple as writing an email or giving a phone call to a customer a few weeks after a sale. At Screaming Bee, I make it a personal goal to contact every customer that buys our voice-changing software, MorphVOX, within 2-3 weeks after a sale.
Does this take time? It sure does. Is it worth it? Absolutely! Not only does this allow us to get good feedback from customers in order to improve our software, but also it establishes a more solid, long-lasting relationship that goes beyond the point-of-sale.
Most people were surprised that I would be willing spend the time to talk with them and were touched by the personal attention they received. And I was also surprised at how uncommon it was for online businesses to follow up on their customers. Some of the typical comments that I have received as the result of my efforts include:
"I really appreciate the personal touch, vs. the usual automated 'we have received your email' garbage, followed by ... well, nothing usually ..."
"Huh, never had customer support quite like this I appreciate it ..."
People don't like being ignored and definitely like being heard. There are many businesses that are ignoring their customers and, as a result, losing them.
Your current customers are the heart and core of your business. These customers provide return business and also provide the essential word-of-mouth promotion that no clever advertisement or marketing scheme will ever out-perform. Treat your customers like your own family. Go out of your way to communicate with them. If you neglect them, they will go elsewhere.