Nurture Your Existing Customers So You Don’t Get Dumped

Congrats are in order…but hold the applause.

You've spent all your time, effort and money to define which customers you want to reach. New customers have even found you, and they like what you have to offer. They show your business love through word-of-mouth marketing and social media shout-outs to friends and family. The only problem is, most of you are still doing it wrong! Let me explain…

So many of you fall into the mindset of being "comfortably numb." You think you’ve done what it takes, and are reaping the rewards of success. You have empowered your employees to give the best customer service, and as a result, your customers just love you. 

This is when many companies get a bit of lazy. They feel content in their success and think there is only smooth sailing ahead. They are "comfortably numb" to the steps needed to maintain and grow their customer base. 

 Companies Need To Plug The Bathtub

Let me explain. Picture a bathtub. You want the tub to be filled with warm, delicious water, where you can soak your body and get that amazing feeling of relaxation.

Your company is the tub, and the water is the customer. The thing is, most companies are focused on filling up the tub with fresh water (new customers) and find it confusing why it is not getting full.  The reason is that they forget to put the plug the bathtub from time to time to nurture their existing customers.

What On Earth Does This Mean?

The best analogy I can think of is being in a personal relationship. If you don’t take care of the relationship and pay attention to your partner over time, the results are often negative. The spark fades, and ultimately the ignored partner will end the relationship. They move on to someone new in search of finding the person that gives them the attention and love they desire.

A Question For Existing Customers

When was the last time you received an email from a brand that gave you a discount because you’ve been a loyal customer? When was the last time you, entirely out of the blue, were given a three month extension to your gym membership because you have stayed with them for more than 12 months?

I’m assuming you can’t think of the last time this happened to you. Businesses tend to offer the sweet deals to new customers as an incentive to buy their product or join their service.  Businesses continually value fresh and new customers, while ignoring the existing, loyal customers. 

Existing customers then get a bad taste in their mouth. They feel ignored, not important, and underappreciated. Many times they leave and buy from another business or join another service that makes them feel important all over again. It seems so simple to appreciate our existing customers, yet so many don’t. 

However, when you nurture your customer relationships, you save money and expand profit margins. In fact, a report from Harvard Business School states that increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25 to 95%.

How Do We Nurture Existing Customers?

You adapt or die. We are in the age of Marketing Darwinism. It is the survival of the fittest, in a highly competitive, sophisticated digital world. This sets the stage for a new era of leadership, with new business models, charging behind a mantra of “adapt or die.” 

The best way to balance existing and new customers is by using the 80/20 rule. To nurture your existing customers, spend 80% of your time and efforts on them. Find clever ways to show appreciation and gratitude by delighting them in ways that make them stay with you. Not because they have to, but because they want to! Make them part of your branding, product development, and marketing. Here are some simple ways to make them feel like they are part of your family:

Learn everything about them Gathering data about your customer will drive decisions about future customer interactions. Study and analyze social media, email and content data so that you can learn about your customer. Data can also be segmented, so customers have an individualized experience. Segmentation ensures that you are nurturing your customer and their unique characteristics.

Send personalized, relevant emails By sending customers personalized emails, you are demonstrating your brand’s investment in their unique needs. If they’ve abandoned their shopping cart, you can send a friendly reminder. If they’ve been spending time on some particular product pages, you can follow up with more product information and benefits. Maybe it’s been a year since they made their first online purchase. You can send them an email e celebrating the anniversary and offering a discount.

Get Social Be proactive and reactive when it comes to managing your social media accounts. You can do this by responding to any queries or brand mentions as quickly as possible. Always add a personal touch along with your communications. Research shows that about 30 percent of consumers prefer to deal with companies via social media rather than on the phone. Also, nearly half of social media users with annual incomes over $200k prefer social media interaction over live customer service. Getting social matters in today's digital age.  

What About New Customers?

They are important too! Spend 20% of your time and money on attracting new customers. With a powerful tribe of advocates on your side (existing customers), standing out from the crowd and earning customers' attention won’t be much of a problem. It’s a lot easier to be louder than the competition when it’s the voice of your customers making all the noise for you. 

So, stop obsessing about targeting new customers by spending your time and money trying to get them to buy your product. In reality, it’s a lot easier to sell to your existing customers. When you sell to an existing customer, you should get the same feeling and rewards you get when you sell to a new customer. Keeping your current customers happy and well looked after is critical to your long-term success.

Did you find this article useful? If so SHARE it with others who want to learn more about nurturing their existing relationships. 

Arnt Eriksen