You spend a lot of time thinking about your customer journey. You spend a lot of time thinking about what they're thinking. You try to anticipate their every thought, want and need as you develop top-of-the-funnel calls-to-action, lead nurturing campaigns and (sweet success!) their welcome e-mails when they become a customer at last. But what happens next?
Some think that, once a lead becomes a customer, they belong then to sales and marketing can simply wash their hands and move on to the next lead. However, that kind of thinking is a mistake. Customers in hand may need more attention from marketing than their lead counterparts.
After a lead becomes a customer, then the work of building the customer relationship and keeping them becomes the next task on the list. It's after they make their first purchase that they decide if they will continue to do business with you or, if the experience was less than perfect, they will move on to a competitor.
But isn't it the job of sales to keep customers happy?
Well, yes. And no. The sales team is responsible for making sure that sales transactions go smoothly and follow-up after the fact. But here's where it's critical that sales and marketing work hand-in-hand: the customer relationship still needs to be nurtured. How can marketing work with sales to help ensure the customer falls in love with the company and the relationship becomes a lifelong partnership?
- Keep the conversation alive. Engage the customer to talk about their experience with your company. Ask them for reviews and feedback. Videotape a testimonial if they have an initial positive experience. If you have coupons or longevity discounts, offer them. Continue to actively market new products and services and ensure that they have a voice in letting you know what they love about you. Don't ever let the relationship become a simple transactional one.
- Remember them on special occasions. Send birthday greetings. Offer a discount or a special promotional gift on the anniversary of their first transaction with you. Make up a special customer appreciation holiday and do something amazing. Make sure they understand exactly how important and special they are to you.
- Let them in on secrets first. If you're going to launch a new product or service, let your existing customers know before you tell everyone else. Offer them a special discount or priority purchasing rights. Make them feel like they're part of your team.
- Be accessible. Offer a special email address or phone number just for your customers and let them know that they get "special" treatment when they call in. After every interaction, send an email or even a handwritten note thanking them for their continued business.
- Make customers a priority. It is said that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. This is true of customers as well. Be kind to your customers and pay attention to them. Use all of your amazing marketing powers to make them happy and to make them fall in love with you and your company over and over again.
A happy customer is a loyal customer who tells their friends about you. They become an evangelist for your business. Having customer evangelists is the best thing that can happen to any business. Mission accomplished (mic drop).
Evangelist (noun): any zealous advocate of a cause