I won’t spend my time by saying ‘Go the extra mile’ or ‘Listen to them and treat them well’. This should already be obvious to you and should be your main focus.
I attended a fantastic talk provided by Rafael, spokesperson for Open-Xchange at World Hosting Day last week. This was based on keeping your existing customers happy and reducing churn. I found this talk both informative and necessary to business in general and as a lot of our customers run businesses and resell hosting it’s definitely worth discussing and sharing my thoughts and Rafaels!
It’s important to realise how much time and effort you should spend focusing on your existing customers as apposed to bringing new customers on board. To top three questions you need to ask yourself is:
1. How much money do you spend to keep your customers?
2. Are my customers getting the whole package from me?
3. What services do you offer for free?
We all know in the hosting world there is a lot of maintenance involved in this industry, whether it be catering for new updates of software and scripts. Identifying the latest site security hacks and even the long processes of writing one click installers for our customers.
It is important to spend as much time as possible looking after your existing customers – this way and that you tell the customer and even the WORLD what you are doing to look after them. Not all customers buy your product and understand what happens in the background, therefore an appreciative customer is the kind of customer you want.
An appreciative, happy customer is a talkative customer. Social Media is the future of marketting, hard sells and direct advertising will be a thing of the past. Your customers love to talk now, on Twitter, Facebook, and review sites because it’s easy and it’s quick. If I look at my Internet shopping history about 80% of the products I’ve bought, I’ve read reviews on them first ; ) It’s important that your current customers are telling people about the experiences they have had with you as these reviews are read on a daily basis. New customers are easy to come by if you are actively selling through the power of happy reviews and social media.
Take Amazon for example! Amazon have set a precedent for this by two features. The first being customer reviews, because they are honest and refreshing and why is Amazon so popular? Because of the existing customers that write them!
Are you giving your existing customer the whole package? You must ensure there is no need for your customer to look further, something Amazon again has done very well! I’m already a customer of Amazon and I’ll log in and search for a book I want. After finding it I see this option ‘Customers who bought this also bought…’ and boom I’ve bought something else. They’ve gained an extra sale and I’m going to tell people what I just bought from Amazon and how it was the easiest decision for me.
Enough about Amazon though 😉 this is about existing customers. Are they getting the whole package from me or is their something I cannot supply to them? The answer to that is to supply whatever your customer needs – however you can. If it’s a 3rd party app, supply it on behalf of that 3rd party. This way your customer is not shopping around. You have provided the solution so that business remains yours and yours only!
TIP: Talking to your customers: Does your customer know you sell something? Are you connecting with them? After a while a customer knows your processes and doesn’t need to contact you for help anymore so they may only connect with you in one way ie to pay a bill. So identify this area where your existing customers connect with you the most. There are plenty of analysis tools out there. Our customers spend most of our time lingering on the billing page of our website, so what do we do to talk to them. We have captions right next to this that say, have you heard about our latest product? have you read our blog? are you following us on Twitter. Are they staying connected to you is the big question.
What services are you offering for free? Did you know Dropbox give you another 48GB for free if you sign up with another device? Another company that is doing it right. I personally don’t need another 48GB but it’s simple and it’s free so I’m going do this and I’m going to tell my friends about how great Dropbox is 🙂
To conclude the key is to connect with and pump money and effort into looking after your current customers. Then the new customers will fall in to place.
Thank you to World Hosting Day and Open-Xchange for the wisdom you have provided me and other businesses out there.