As a business owner it can be extremely frustrating to lose a new sales opportunity, but I bet you’d agree that it’s even more frustrating to lose an existing customer. Customer turnover can be one of the biggest headaches of running a business, and many people fail to realize how costly losing a current customer really is. It is far easier (and less expensive) to keep, or upsell, a current client than it is to attract and sign a brand new one. Therefore, we should all be working to keep those clients happy – but how?

Customer RELATIONSHIP Management

Most of you know what a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is – many of you use one on a daily basis – but the question is; do you use it correctly? Most companies using CRMs today only use them to collect data around transactions. Who’s a lead? How many opportunities did we close this month? But we need to put the relationship back in the CRM.

Having and maintaining a good relationship with customers has been proven to not only retain more clients, but also to generate more referrals –  and getting referrals is a sales team’s dream. Some ways to keep client relationships in good standing:

  1. Record relationship data – make sure to record information about customer relationships in your system, as well as transaction data.
  2. Make cultivating relationships part of the culture – encourage your sales team to cultivate relationships with current customers in addition to bringing in new business. A simple phone call, email, or personal meeting is often all that is needed to keep customers happy, so make this part of the job.
  3.  Ask your customers for their opinion – find out how your customers really feel about your service or product with surveys, or simply by asking. You’ll be surprised how honest they will be, and the results may highlight areas to improve customer retention.
  4. Know your valuable customers – you don’t have to play favorites, but it is important to know which customers would be most costly to replace, and make sure they’re happy.
  5. Give rewards for retention – salespeople often get commissions for bringing in new sales, so why not reward them in some way when someone renews their business. This will motivate the sales team to keep up relationships throughout the year.

We all want continued growth for our companies, but we often overlook the most opportune area for achieving that growth. By putting customer relationships at the forefront of your company’s goals you can increase profits and make your customers even happier by doing so.