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Do not take your existing customers for granted

Nov 13th, 2019

Today's article was inspired by my friend and colleague Bill Sweetman, of NameNinja.com :

Bill made a post that said "Dear <company name>, if it's easier to move my business to a competitor than modify the name on an existing account then guess what option I chose ? Bye bye... "

That got me thinking: How many of us, in business, get into the habit of taking our customers - especially our long-term customers - for granted ? We assume they will always be there - they will always pay our invoices and that they will simply be an assumed part of our regular income ?

Talk about a good way to help your competition!

First, related to Bill's post: When an existing customer calls in to make a change - be that one you can charge money for or gratis, simply as a part of account maintenance: That represents two opportunities:

  1. To show the customer that doing business was - and continues to be - a good idea. Prompt customer service, including - especially - going that "extra mile" helps ensure next months' invoice will be paid on time and gladly.
  2. It is an opportunity to upsell - BUT: #1, above, MUST be accomplished, first. If the customer is annoyed because you could not accommodate some minor change, no matter what your personal reason for it is - how receptive will they be to your asking them to spend even more money with them, no matter who good the offer is ?

Keep in mind that the above is reactive customer service - Which is good: Don't get me wrong - But there is not only nothing wrong with proactive customer service - but everything right.

Are you having a slow day or week ? Take some time to go over your existing customer accounts. Take a look at what they are doing with you now and look for two things:

  1. What can you do, offer or suggest to them, at no charge at all, that will be beneficial to them ?
  2. What can you offer, at a price, that will be clearly beneficial to them, given the benefits they have already been seeing from your current level of service to them ?

Ideally: This should be done with ALL your customers at least four times per year - Once per quarter. Even better is if those "freebie" upgrades, improvements or suggestions took up two or three of those four calls, simply for the reason that you do not want your customer to immediately think, when they see your phone number or email address "Great: They're trying to get more money from me" - Far, far better that they take your call or open your email with the thought of "This is going to improve my business, I can't wait to see what they have to say".

Remember that all of your existing customers are, right now, warm customers - That is to say: They already know about you, know about the benefits you provide and are thus much more likely to respond to a proposal of new business made by you - This, of course, only holds true as long as you keep that existing relationship a good one.

As always: If you have questions or commentary, feel free to email me at marc@canadianisp.ca or comment on the CanadianISP Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CanadianISP/

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