Carl Maerz is a co-founder of Rocket Referrals, a startup company focused on helping businesses gain referrals from customers.
My brother has the sweetest dog I have ever had the privilege to play fetch with. Abby, a 5-year old goldendoodle, is very well behaved and lacks the mischievousness which most animals possess. That is, until over this holiday. Apparently, on New Year's Eve she went on a tear through the house and sniffed out every piece of candy she could get her paws on. She knew it was wrong, and normally she would have resisted her longing for chocolate. But with all the hustle and bustle over the holidays she didn’t get the personal attention she was used to. So down the hatch went the Butterfingers, candy canes, ...even Laffy Taffy. Here she is acting innocent - except of course there is a wrapper on her chin.
She was missing the personal touchpoints and recognition she needed.
As do existing clients of many companies. With the new year comes sales and revenue goals. Yet too often some businesses get so wrapped up (pun intended) with searching for new clients that they forget about their existing clients. You know, the ones they got last year. In fact, I always get aggravated when companies I have done business with for years offer outstanding deals for new clients only. What am I, chopped liver? So I end up leaving and joining a competitor. And thus begins the continuous cycle for the company of losing clients and obtaining new ones.
What about the lifetime value of a client?
That is where the real profit lies. Plug the leak in the bucket before adding more water. Which reminds us that client retention is just as, if not more important, than searching out new blood. Don’t forget the three Rs of customer loyalty: retention, repeat business, and referrals.
Customer loyalty can be increased significantly by purely increasing the personal touchpoints that you have with your clients. Every touchpoint goes a long way in influencing the overall perception of a company. The better the client feels about you, the more likely they are going to stick around, buy more, and tell their friends and family.
Send them handwritten cards.
I am a firm believer that direct mail is making a comeback. With so much email floating around now people hardly even notice it anymore. Besides, when consuming information online most people just look at pictures and watch videos. Okay, except for you. Thanks for reading my post. But when something shows up handwritten in their mailbox with a first class stamp attached. Trust me, they are going to read that. And they will remember it.
Birthdays and anniversaries are the best times to send them.
People get lots of Christmas cards still, and it is kind of strange to send one on Valentine’s Day. But most people don’t get that many handwritten birthdays cards anymore. (Well, not me anyway). But don’t just send one of those cheap bulk cards that only have your signature on it. Better than nothing, but it will be forgotten. Include a personalized message and be genuine.
Good luck this year! I hope your clients don’t misbehave like Abby did. Just don’t forget about your existing clients and you will have a great 2015!