Managing Customer Relationships As Part of Marketing

Managing Customer Relationships As Part of Marketing: Although we at Rippleout Marketing understand that keeping costs to a minimum is a major concern for many of our clients, in the corporate world marketing and lead development is typically a major expenditure. However, small businesses can also learn a lot from their corporate counterparts – including the value of customer relationship management. {Tweet}

To take an example, I am a Vodafone customer. I receive occasional calls from Vodafone to check I’m OK, and I’ve remained a customer for my entire mobile phone-owning life. Whilst this is important for recurring revenue, it doesn’t help Vodafone grow their profits.

Managing Customer Relationships As Part of Marketing - Rippleout Marketing

Managing Customer Relationships As Part of Marketing – Why Not Write Notes To Clients?

However, I received a call from a customer service representative today who offered me a fairly major upgrade, for only £2 a month of additional expenditure. Not a lot you might say, but with a customer base the size of Vodafone’s, that can quite quickly add up.

How does this apply to small businesses?

In short, it’s a lot cheaper to keep your current clients than it is to find, develop and close new leads. There are different ways of doing this – the CEO of Belfor, for instance, hand writes birthday cards to all his employees, and there are companies that send out cards on the anniversary of product purchases for instance. Others simply keep in touch with their clients over the phone every couple of months or so, just to make sure everything is OK – it’s much better to be pro-active and discover someone has an issue before they complain than to reactively deal with one. {Tweet}

Building trust with your clients and customers is the vital point – regardless of how you do it. Your clients are your warmest leads, as they are already interested in what you are selling, and are using you to provide the product or service in question. When your customers trust you, they will begin to ask you to provide other services, knowing that they will receive a high quality output and good customer service. {Tweet}

In addition, keeping in touch with your clients keeps you top-of-mind – and this can lead to referrals for instance. The more touch points you can have with your clients, and their business contacts, without being invasive, the better!

Starting out with Customer Relationship Management

There are a number of well-known and effective CRM tools on the market place – including Salesforce, which is my personal favourite. However, for a small business, a simple excel spreadsheet with all your clients listed against the last time you contacted them, how, and any notes about the conversation will serve just as well until you can justify the expense of investing in new software.

Like Belfor, hand-written thank you notes can be a very effective tool for keeping in touch. In a world where communication is so easy – email, telephone, Twitter etc. – taking the time to write out a note, and to address, stamp and post the envelope shows that a customer is truly valuable and that you are willing to actually take time to thank them. {Tweet}

If you’re going to go for this approach, make sure you invest in a good quality stock for your cards – nothing ruins the appeal of a thank you note like translucent paper!

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