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Monday, August 5, 2013

All Your Clients are VIP Clients

Even if you've already heard these statistics before or intuitively know them to be true based on your own experience, it may still be a bit startling to see them here again:
  • It can cost up to 7 times more to acquire one new client than to keep a current one.

  • The likelihood of a prospect buying from you is between 5 and 20%. The likelihood of an existing customer buying from you again is between 60 and 70%.
Based on these numbers, it's clear that nurturing and cultivating your existing client relationships can go a long way toward improving the health of your company's bottom line. However, many companies devote most of their marketing budgets to new customer acquisition, rather than trying to keep existing customers coming back. New leads and customers are important, but your existing customers should also hold a very high place on your list of marketing priorities.

How can you keep customers coming back?

Sending simple thank you cards to show your appreciation is one idea. A monthly printed or email newsletter that informs, educates, and entertains is another. Picking up the phone and having a real conversation is perhaps the least expensive, yet most powerful way to retain existing clients. Promotional products are a nice thank you gift too.

There are many ways to show your appreciation, but timing is essential if you want to maximize the effect. The first 30 to 90 days after your new customer comes on board is the most important time to begin showing them your appreciation. If you haven't done so already, create a blueprint for your remarkable customer experience plan that must be followed throughout your organization. Place one or two key people in charge of overseeing this plan to make sure it is implemented and followed through with every new customer.

This plan should have tasks and due dates attached for each activity. For example, your plan might call for a thank you card to be sent the day after a new customer comes on board. Gifts, lunches, coffee, phone calls, newsletters, and personal visits can all be part of the plan, as well. Make your customers feel like VIPs. Listen to their needs and respond quickly. What's critical here is that you have a plan, that you have someone who is accountable for implementing the plan, and that you include due dates for each task in the plan.

Creating a remarkable customer experience can be as simple or as complex as you would like it to be. The more remarkable and unique you can make it, the more memorable the experience will be. The key is to have a plan and to always remember that it is much less expensive and profitable to keep an existing customer happy than it is to acquire a brand new customer.

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