Communication with existing customers is generally neglected by businesses as they often focus their marketing and advertising on communicating with potential customers instead. All businesses should be in contact with their existing customers a minimum of 12 times per year as the benefits of doing this are 100 times the costs involved.
In our recent article Calculate the True Value of a Customer we’ve highlighted the incredible potential journey a customer can make from their first purchase during their lifetime of being your customer.
Research shows it is 5 – 10 times easier to sell to an existing customer compared to a new potential customer. The benefits of an effective customer communication plan include:
- Higher customer retention rates – This eliminates the need to continually get new customers each year to replace
- the ones lost due to apathy or neglect.
- Higher client satisfaction.
- More customer referrals.
- Capacity to charge higher fees – This is possible as customers perceive you are providing a more valuable service due to the constant contact.
How to create a Communications Plan
- Choose the goals or objectives you would like to achieve i.e. more sales, higher customer retention, higher net promoter score, etc.
- Design a plan to contact your customers 12 times per year.
- Decide on the communication mediums. This should involve a combination of newsletters (email or paper), social media, customer phone calls, customer visits, and customer invitations to seminars or shop promotions.
- Ensure the customer contact plan is tailored to the customers unique circumstances and adds value to them.
- Focus on communicating benefits and relevant information to customers. Customers do not want to be ‘sold to, but rather educated and informed. For example, a monthly email from a retailer selling hiking equipment would focus on new hiking products and techniques, reviews of ‘must do’ hiking trails, and ‘expert’ reviews on essential equipment.
- Communication is a two way street, so have a clear feedback cycle so customers can communicate with you.
Please Note: Many of the comments in this article are general in nature and anyone intending to apply the information to practical circumstances should seek professional advice to independently verify their interpretation and the information’s applicability to their particular circumstances.