Research in the UK shows that sales people and business executives who play golf experience an 85% better chance of securing a business deal on the golf course than through conventional methods of marketing.
Why do I mention this? Well there is no doubt that it costs less to retain and sell to an existing customer than it does to attract a new one. While there may be contention as to how much more expensive it is (marketing experts agree it is somewhere between 4 and 7 times), if you can develop customer loyalty you will repay any investment many times over.
Don’t play golf? Neither do I, but you can build a strong customer relationship off the course as well – although I am told it is nowhere near as much fun.
Here are just a few customer touch points that you can use to strengthen your relationships and keep your customers informed and engaged:
- Email messages, newsletters, and surveys: Provide product/service updates, promote goods and services, and communicate news/events.
- Feedback: Ask for, capture, and act on your customer’s input.
- nsight: Research your customers’ markets, strategies, and goals.
- Customer loyalty: Implement loyalty, affinity, and rewards programs.
- Relationship building: Talk and listen to customers in order to maintain a dialogue and to build a trust based relationship.
- Be accessible: Make it easy for customers to reach you.
- Customer satisfaction: Implement a customer satisfaction policy that provides a way to resolve/remedy problems and issues.
- Involvement: Engage customers in product development/enhancement, via beta tests, focus groups, and pilots.
- Anticipate customer needs: Learn their business, their purchasing patterns, and their requirements for effective proactive solutions.
- Become an indispensable resource: Look for ways to add value, to be a real partner, and to help your customers achieve results.
- Help lines: Provide support, service, advice, and information.
- And lastly, I’m told the 19th hole is good…But aren’t there only 18 holes?
In building customer relationships, remember to value the “personal touch.” Make an effort to get to know your customer “as a person.” You will be surprised at how much you may have in common. Establishing personal bonds goes a long way toward building lasting relationships.
Your efforts will be rewarded with repeat business, referrals, and a satisfied loyal customer.