Show me a business that used to be successful but is now struggling, and I will show you a business where the owner/founder has limited or no contact with the customer. One of the biggest culprits is technology. As a business grows, it becomes almost impossible for the owner to contact each customer individually, so they naturally migrate to communicating via blogs, email, and social media.
First, let me tell you that communicating in the new media is a godsend! If you have a seasonal business like I do, you understand that during my busy season, if I did not screen calls and return them all at once, use email to contact clients, and have my employees answer as many calls as possible, I would have no time to get any work done. All I would have time for is answering calls! And in this economic climate, it is a necessity to keep your staff as lean as possible to survive.
But it is easy to get into the habit of using technology for all of your client contact and forget that there really is no substitute for a phone call or a personal visit. In fact, one of the main reasons that clients give for switching CPAs is they feel their prior CPA didn’t care about them. I am willing to bet this is the case for most businesses.
One sure way to increase customer retention is to set up a plan to call or visit three or four of your customers every week. Don’t be a pest about it. During your contact, inquire about their business and try to have information that is useful to them. Don’t make your main purpose a sales call. You are just calling to say hello and listen for ways you can help them. You will be amazed at how much more business will be generated from these calls.
So start contacting your customers today, before your customers contact your competitors tomorrow.