Getting new customers in the door may be a top priority for your company, perhaps the top. Concern about how you will keep your phones ringing and sales pipeline full might just be the bumps that keep you up at night.
You certainly wouldn’t be the first or last business owner to worry about profit margins. But, does a sales-centered approach to growth always ensure success?
Maybe at first.
While acquiring a new customer feels great and is undeniably good for business, a narrow focus on customer acquisition can leave your buyers feeling undervalued or disenchanted with your service post-sale. And if they aren’t getting the attention they need after that initial buy, what would keep them coming back to you when your competitors are also opening doors, rolling out red carpets, and making some pretty sweet promises?
Here’s a hint: There is no finish line when it comes to customer satisfaction.
A Lifetime Value
Sure, landing a new client is an accomplishment. Perhaps a checkpoint of sorts, but it should never mark the end of your desire to woo them. Once you’ve done the hard work of winning their business, it’s time to focus on Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
CLV is a calculation of how much revenue you can gain from just one loyal, returning customer over time. In some cases, you may have a specific product that a customer purchases monthly for the duration of their time in a certain age demographic.
So what’s the key to a “lifetime” customer? Simple. It’s an ongoing, unwavering commitment to nurturing an impeccable relationship, at every touch point.
A Farewell to the Funnel
You are probably familiar with the “sales funnel” concept. First, your customer finds you through an article or some form of marketing collateral, then they visit your office or contact you via the phone or your website, and the interaction results in a sale.
Voila, a marketing job well-done.
Where many companies miss the mark is leaving the relationship there. The customer journey is less of a funnel and more of a flywheel, according to a recent article in HubSpot. Writer Jon Dick states, “Funnels lose the energy you put into them once you reach the bottom, but flywheels are remarkable at storing and releasing energy.”
The more power you generate with your wheel (via frequent, personal contact with your customers) the more energy a customer returns to keep the momentum rolling. This replaces the “bottom” of the funnel with an ongoing, ever-growing dance of engagement. And engagement leads to a customer for life.
When Customers Become Advocates
Now, it’s time to evolve. Fastidious and fabulous customer service can seem like a lost art. People know it when they encounter it, but generally don’t expect it. In fact, while 80% of companies believe they provide excellent customer service, only 8% of customers agree. With stats like that, it is easy to see why customer experience is quickly becoming the lead differentiator among brands.
When your customer service offering stands apart from the competition, you create a loyal customer base…who may just end up being your best source of marketing. Happy customers become advocates and produce more business, one referral at a time!
Your Game Plan
Widening your focus from a sales-funnel view to that of the flywheel increases customer satisfaction and helps you win more customers. So, the question is, what steps can you take to improve your customer service offering? From the first interaction someone has with your business to the touchpoints that come after you’ve made the sale?
Here are a few places to start:
- Be accessible. When your customers need you, don’t rely on bots or automated phone trees to do the work for you. Consider live chat or virtual receptionists to level-up your ability to respond quickly and with a human touch (without compromising your productivity!).
- Be delightful. Focus on delivering warm, authentic interactions that create opportunities for making meaningful connections with customers. Never underestimate the power of a friendly tone or kind words in business.
- Be curious. Show ongoing interest in your customers’ experiences and success. Ask questions and seek feedback to better your service.
- Be grateful! Let customers know that their business matters. Saying “thank you” with your words and actions can move your product or service from a commodity to an experience with which your customers have an emotional connection…which makes your business more valuable and not-so replaceable.