Work with the customers you know

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Large service organisations are lucky: they have lots of customers. Unfortunately, they often don’t value them highly enough. In industries such as insurance, telecoms and energy, potential customers are bombarded with special offers to rope them in. Meanwhile, existing customers are ignored up until the time they change to a competitor.

Why spend so much effort on new customers if your existing ones are leaving at a similar rate, are less valuable than they could be, or are even costing you money? Organisations must rethink their relationship – or lack of – with their existing customers in order to retain them better and even cross or upsell.

Customers are more than a number

A large telecoms company had only three ways of seeing existing customers: as an MSISDN (network subscription number), bill recipient number or possible complaint ticket. This way of looking at customers severely restricts the ability to get closer to the customer, or better yet, engage them in a meaningful way.

Get off to a good start

In industries from telecoms to healthcare, the right beginning sets customers up for a good relationship. Once a customer has signed up, recognise that they are new by offering help by installing, configuring and learning key functions of the product or service. This builds trust early and better yet, prevents costly problems later.

Make renewal more personal

When it’s time for customers to renew, you have an advantage: you know them. Treat this as an opportunity to help refine their package to better fit their current and future needs. Approaching customers who are at the end of their contract with a relevant, new offer can increase renewal levels and create higher-value customers.

Do more with your customers

Characteristically called cross-sell or up-sell, the opportunity to do more with existing customers is rarely achieved. The right way is to engage them by understanding what they currently have and what they need – not pushing what you want to sell them.
The knowledge of what is valuable to customers usually already sits within the organisation and when in doubt ask en learn for the customers.

Be the best for your customers – all the time

Most business have many existing customers they could do more business with
Most business have many existing customers they could do more business with

Customer acquisition is a battleground with blunt weapons. Keeping and growing your existing customer base is a more surgical art, where targeted knowledge-based activities can build, maintain and grow more loyal and valuable customers. Imagine dazzling your potential new customers not with a one-off offer, but the promise of benefits long into the future.

Anne Meijer
Anne Meijer, is working for Livework as a business developer and a service analyst, in The Netherlands and London. She works with clients across different sectors varying from Telco's, Insurance and banking to hospitality, helping to improve their customer experience by designing a good service that also brings business value.

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