5 Ways To Keep In Touch With Your Customers
It seems that business owners out there are finding it harder and harder to stay in touch with their customers. Consistently when I ask small businesses to rate themselves at following up, they always say that this is where they are weakest.
Actually, there are tons of ways to follow up and stay in touch with your customers and your contacts – well five anyway. Many people let fear get in the way because they don’t like picking up the phone, but just think of all the other ways to follow up…
1. Phone – ok, this is the most obvious. You’ve probably thought about this one already. Don’t discount the phone though. This method should be used if you’re on a personal level with your contacts. If you’ve been out to see them and sent them a proposal for instance, you should look to follow up by phone as the very next step. Or if someone has handed you a personal referral, again phone should be your first choice.
I know it’s hard to pick up the phone sometimes (trust me, I hate it too), but one of the things that really changed my business around was getting on the phone to two potential customers a day. I still have to push myself on this now, but it really does work for my business. Go on, try it (you know you want to).
2. Email – ok, another obvious one, but also an interesting one because I see businesses use email sometimes far too much and sometimes not enough. Email should NOT be used when you’ve got that really personal connection with someone and phone would be a better option. However, it can effectively be used to build relationships with contacts that you don’t know as well.
We follow up by email marketing consistently and it works fantastically in our business – can it work great in your business too if you followed up by email a little bit more? Try putting together a newsletter for your contacts and see what impact it has in your business.
3. Text messaging – ah-ha. Hopefully that one wasn’t as obvious. Text messaging can be a very, very powerful way of following up. You might ignore emails and phone calls, but you never ignore a text do you – you do read it even if you decide not to respond?
There are companies that can send out bulk text messages for you, but like any other aspect of marketing, test it yourself on a small number of contacts first and see if it has any impact. By the way, if you’ve got a customer who is not paying you, text messaging can work wonders.
4. Letters – now by letters, I don’t just mean letters. I mean anything that you can send through the post. Postcards, personal thank you notes, birthday cards etc. I don’t know about you, but the amount of mail I get through the post these days is fewer and fewer which means I pay attention to things.
As a nation, we actually like getting letters and post don’t we? Try a handwritten personal note to someone and see if it makes a difference getting that person to act or not.
5. Face to face – my last way of touching base with people is a drastically underused method in my opinion (humble though it may be). We might see someone for an initial meeting but then how many of us sit down with our customers and contacts on a regular basis after that.
If you’ve got customers paying you a lot of money though, it might be a nice touch to pencil something in the diary once every couple of months. Your customers will appreciate it and you might find that it makes a big difference – especially when they come to place that next big order.
Now the trick with all of these methods of staying in touch is to mix and match. Do one method all of the time and your customers and contacts will soon be sick to death of it. Mix and match and you might find it just does the trick.