A Question For You
What if I said you’d have no more new customers?
Julia Carcamo is president and chief brand strategist at J Carcamo & Associates, specializing in brand and marketing strategy. She is also the co-founder of espNOLA, a Hispanic marketing and engagement agency. Learn more at jcarcamoassociates.com and espnola.com.
As marketers, we’re always looking to “fill the funnel” with new customers, but what if I told you the last new customer you would get just walked in your door?
How would you change your business? What would you do to get back the customers who tried you once or twice but ultimately chose to go elsewhere?
We know how to get new customers — advertising and discounts. But how are we nurturing existing client relationships? There is much research that says getting a new customer costs you five times (some even say 10 times) more than keeping a customer. So, for the sake of low cost and deeper brand engagement, let’s turn our attention to the customers who are already within our grasp and find ways to generate more business from them. Those relationships are waiting to be nurtured and cultivated and, in many cases, you may already have the tools within your grasp.EMPLOYEES
While most would expect me to turn to advertising and communications first, I always like to start with employees. Customer relationships take people. How we treat and reward our people will determine how our people treat our relationships.
Call centers are a great example of a waste of people power. Operators are rewarded for resolving calls quickly. Faster resolution equals higher call volume per shift, which equals lower cost per call. But what if we placed the emphasis on the cost per relationship rather than cost per call?
Of course, what if you don’t have a call center? Do you have lines forming elsewhere? Do you have a payment location where people stand around waiting to give you money? You most certainly want the line to move quickly, but does a couple of extra seconds spent giving a customer a smile, perhaps welcoming them back or wishing them a good day really drive your costs or are they driving your relationships? Operating successfully for the long term most certainly requires a delicate balance of efficiency and effectiveness. Just remember that it is a balance and not all about efficiency.CUSTOMER DATABASE
There is gold in that there customer database! The customers who visited you once before and have either declined in their visits and purchases or completely stopped may be your best source of revenue. Ask yourself, “How much revenue can I bring in if I get only 1 percent of those customers back?” What if you could get 2 percent? Five percent? Ten percent? (This will take time and will absolutely be where the patience of your executives is tested).
There are two pieces to this puzzle: The first is understanding the needs and wants of your customers. A robust CRM system can turn a customer from an account number and sales history to a person with wants, needs and desires. Long-lasting customer relationships must be defined by the person rather than a sum of their purchases.
Next, you’ll need to do an internal audit of your offerings, services, facilities and staff…honestly. Then, audit your competitors. You must identify both the improvements you have made since your customers’ last visit(s) and the improvements you can make now. This should be done before you start any outreach. Understanding the new story along with your enhanced CRM system should lead to improvement.
My entire career has been in marketing and has included years of finance directors telling me that all I know how to do is spend money. Don’t get me wrong, I can spend money, but I can also make money by getting to know the tools I have available and the customers I have, then finding a way to match them up.
When you look inside (instead of outside) for marketing redemption, you’ll find more ways to generate business.