Your top customers are your most important customers in your business, and it’s important that you hang onto them if at all possible. It’s much more cost-effective in most business models to retain repeat customers than it is to find new ones. Here are nine tips you can use to dazzle and delight your top customers:
1. Know who they are by name.
Which customers generated the highest sales for you last year? Run a Sales by Customer Summary (Reports>Sales). Next, sort by descending revenue. Your top customers will be listed on the first lines of this report. (If you have customers who still owe you, then you might want to run this report on a cash basis.).
You can take this a step further and modify the report by adding % of Column. This will let you see not only how much money they paid you but also the percentage of sales from this one customer. This can be an eye-opener. I remember one of the first times I did this and while I knew my top couple customers, I was surprised at who else was near the top of the list. Those who do business frequently but smaller bills often add up to a surprising amount.
Make your top customers feel special – contact them monthly, have lunch with them periodically, or do something to help them feel special and let them know you appreciate their business.
2. Know who sent the most business to you.
Do you track referrals? If not, consider doing it in QuickBooks so you can “attach” the sales to the referrer – Custom Fields or Sales Reps are helpful ways to go. Here’s an article that explains how you can do this in QuickBooks.
You want to “take care” of those who send you the best and/or most referrals. Make a plan to lunch with these individuals or send “thank you” notes and/or gifts – or something extra for them periodically to let them know you appreciate their referrals.
3. Ask customers how they would like to be contacted.
Do your customers prefer to be contacted via email? Phone? Text? In person? If a customer hates being called on their cell phone, wouldn’t you want to know?
Everyone is different, so find out by asking, and make a note in their file. Also find out how often they’d like an update. Some worriers might want to know daily, others prefer a short monthly email. The best time to do this is during customer onboarding or at the time of the first sale.
4. Find out what customers need from you.
At the end of each project, ask your customer two things:
- How could we have served you better?
- What else can we do for you?
Then empty your mind and really listen. Take copious notes, don’t defend yourself, and thank your customer. Think about what they said, and implement what makes sense.
5. Provide a customer service contact and great support.
Does your customer know who to call when they need to talk with someone in your business? If the customer has a follow up question on their purchase or service, let them know what to do ahead of time so they won’t feel lost. This will make the customer feel at home and will have them coming back because of your great support experience.
6. Practice “consumption marketing.”
Consumption marketing is helping the customer fully consume their purchase from you. The more likely they are to get benefits from your product or service, the more likely they are to come back for more.
Help clients use your products and services to their fullest by creating a consumption marketing program that includes tips sheets, educational aids, how-to videos, instructional blog posts, and the like.
If you have multiple services and/or divisions in your company, you may want to track which of those services they use – then you can do some customized mailings (email or postal) that would help them.
You can also see which services they don’t use, so you can let them know that you would be happy to provide additional services for them. People like to do business with those they know and trust, so you’ve having already established that they know and trust you, providing additional products and services to them can often be a natural “next” step. Again, you can track what they use in QuickBooks by Jobs, Division, Items and/or Custom Fields.
7. Develop multiple relationships.
If your customers are from large companies, strengthen that business by meeting multiple buyers within the company. If one employee leaves, it won’t be such a crisis to your account if you know multiple people in the company.
8. Say thanks promptly.
Send a thank you note to a new customer or referral source within a week of their purchase or referral. Acknowledge their action quickly and generously so that you make a great personal impression.
9. Create and implement a client retention plan.
Be proactive about customer retention by planning touch points throughout the year and systematizing the contact process with your top customers. This can be as simple as taking your top 12 customers out to lunch, one each month, or as complex as planning some kind of touch point – a newsletter, email, or thank you note – once a month for each of your top clients and referral sources.
Try any of these nine tips to dazzle your top customers and boost your customer retention for stronger sales.