Many people think of marketing as the process of getting business in but a good marketing manager will look at the entire customer relationship in order to maximise revenues.

I have been very quiet recently on my blog – it’s been busy busy workwise coupled with party season for my daughters and I’ve not had time to take my own advice!  Running the Herts Marketing Mentor Group last week made me realise I need to take my own advice so I’m making myself write this week!

A repeat customer is loyal  to your brand and product and will often choose you over a competitor. Marketing at this stage is about ensuring they are happy with the service they get whilst encouraging repeat purchases, cross and up selling where possible.  It is a fine balance to provide valuable information that retains interest and also encourage further buying whilst not over selling and scaring people off. Loyalty clubs are great for people at this stage of the relationship. (You’ve been on a few dates and it’s getting serious!)

In order to convert customers into loyal customers, you need to retain their interest and maintain a quality relationship. There are a number of ways you can do this both on and offline. Look at ways you can add value to the relationship with events, communities and knowledge sharing.   Your customer’s time is more precious today than ever before. Make the time they spend with you a quality experience and never waste their time.

If you are very active on-line, consider  creating a group or community in your social network of choice. This can also make it easy for clients to spread the word easily about how good you are but inviting friends to join or sharing your content.

Things always go wrong at some point, show empathy, stay calm and show you’ve taken steps so make sure it doesn’t happen again. Some things are unavoidable – I once had a group of delegates turn up for a specialist training course but the specialist trainer was sick. With a lot of rejigging to get them on an alternative course several were due to attend in future with a rebooking on the other date, a good attitude, flexibility and Easter eggs all round I won a long terms contract. It was my attitude to do what I could along with my empathy for the pain situation that retained the client (and of course chocolate!)

Beware of bad customers, if they take up too much of your time for little or no reward and you’d be better off without them then end things as nicely and amicably as you can.

Depending on your business, if you have regular customers who are missing? Follow up and find out why (without seeming like a stalker of course). Sometimes there is a good reason and a little flexibility may help. A beauty therapist I worked with had a regular client who failed to turn up for a usual appointment that was cancelled by her husband.  She rang the next day to check everything was ok and it turned out the lady had a broken leg and couldn’t drive for several months without a lift.  The therapist it turned out was able to pick her up on her way to work and drop her back home at lunch time and the client had a number of back to back treatments every other week. This lady sang her praises from the rooftops and brought in a several additional clients as well as entertaining waiting ones in the half hour she had sitting at the salon!

Communication works two ways so start by following up with your customers after a purchase, treating people as individuals and build on what you learn to put systems in place that will help.

Good luck,

VM.

Written by Julie Joseph

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