How do we stay in touch with existing clients? Once we get an order it gets turned over to people in our operations department. They handle everything from customer questions to delivering on time and on budget. Once we deliver, we move on to the next order. Consequently, we lose touch with past customers unless they contact us to order again. What is the best way to build enduring customer relationships?
Thoughts of the Day: Build and maintain enduring customer relationships is important. Especially if there’s no more work coming from them at the moment. People in operations probably have the best working relationships when work is completed. A great marketing strategy is to develop new products for old clients – get your folks in operations involved in figuring out what to do next with those old clients. Think to win-win and build a community that customers want to be involved with, even if they’re not active.
Past customers are very valuable to every business.
They can teach your business about how well you’re doing at meeting customer needs. They can spark ideas about what to do next. And they’re a proven source of income.
It costs more to acquire a new customer than it does to build an enduring customer relationship. Once your company has gotten through the door with sales, keeping that door open for future opportunities is everyone’s job. That includes folks who do the work of satisfying customer needs by delivering products or services.
Does operations focus only on what’s now what’s new what’s next?
Finish this order, get the next one ready to go out. That’s the normal order of things. After all, some would say, looking after customers for new orders – well, that’s sales and marketing, isn’t it? Yes, and no.
Think about who owns the relationship with customers. After working to get an order delivered correctly, customers often feel their greatest bond with the folks in operations who stepped up to do the work and handle their questions. Their ties to sales and marketing often drop away once their request is transferred over to the operations people to fulfill. Past customers are often more likely to take a call from someone they’ve worked with most recently.
Operations can benefit from following up after order delivery. Employees may find out about an upcoming need and give suggestions. Customers may offer what they thought of the product/service they received. Feedback is a valuable insight for upcoming product development.
Think win – win and build a community
It’s easy to stay in touch with customers if you think about it like your networking community. Connecting satisfied buyers can multiply goodwill towards others and towards your company. Oftentimes goodwill is tied to customer satisfaction.
Give operations a reason to maintain customer connections. Encourage customers to gather. Hold a conference, host a dinner. Put up a message board where everyone can communicate with your people and with each other. Find ways to stay in touch post-sale. Implement a few of them, put your operations people front and center, and watch the dollars multiply.