Excellent customer management leads to happy customers who come back to buy more of your product or service. Here are five surefire ways to successfully manage your customers.
Without your customers, your business is nothing. As anyone in the sales business knows, that’s no exaggeration.
Satisfied customers who love your products or services are the lifeblood of your business and therefore customer management should be at the heart of any organization.
A recent report from Adobe asked companies involved in business-to-business (B2) sales to tell them about their most exciting opportunity in the future, and customer experience came firstbeating content marketing, data-driven marketing, video marketing and social media.
So even if you don’t consider yourself a customer manager, it might be time to start.
Your existing customers are an important part of your future growth, so you need to nurture them. Let’s talk about how.
Overview: What is Client Management?
Also called customer relationship management (CRM) or customer resource management, customer management refers to how a business manages and develops its relationship with its customers and customers.
Customer management is important for businesses because satisfied customers are more likely to purchase more products or services from that business, leave positive reviews that will build brand reputation and trust, and attract new customers, either by word of mouth or through a referral program.
Why customer management is important for your business
Here are some benefits of incorporating effective customer management into your B2B marketing strategies, and why you need to make it a priority now:
Your customers will remain customers
If customers are happy, the next time you ask them to renew their contract and buy the latest version of your product, they’ll be much more likely to do so.
There is no point in doing all the work to land a client only to lose it a few months later because your client management was poor.
They will buy you more
The easiest customer to sell is a customer you already have. It makes sense. After all, they’ve already bought from you, so they know and trust you, and they’ve already proven they have an interest in the products you have.
By offering a premium service, product, or upgrade that enhances what they already have, you can turn your customers into super customers.
They will attract new customers
Satisfied customers attract new customers in many ways. They’ll tell their friends and colleagues about you in a positive way, building trust between people who haven’t heard of you before but probably need your product or service.
They will also be more likely to refer potential customers to you if you just ask them. And they’re more likely to leave a positive review on a third-party site recommending your business, or provide a testimonial if you ask them.
5 ways to manage your customers well
So how do you create that happy customer that’s going to bring you all that new business? Here are five surefire ways to successfully manage your customers.
1. Set expectations
The first thing you will need to do is make sure the expectations are at the right level. You don’t want your customer to expect more from your product and service than you can deliver. Be transparent with your client and always seek to under-promise and over-deliver.
Tips for setting expectations:
Setting expectations properly is all about building strong communication and trust between you and your customer.
- Only discuss what you know you can offer. You have a good idea of what your product or service will offer, as well as some things it might offer. Don’t mention the latter. Instead, let your customer be pleasantly surprised.
- Ask your customer what he expects. Ask your customer directly what he expects. Maybe they expect your software to generate 20% more sales through increased efficiency. You can use your knowledge of what past customers have liked to let them know if it might take a few months to get there.
2. Establish a line of communication
As soon as you close a sale, it’s time to work on customer management and find a good line of communication with your customer. Ask them how they prefer to stay in touch, whether it’s email, phone calls, or even a mobile app.
This line of communication will be essential to check in with your client and help them overcome any challenges.
Tips for establishing a line of communication:
Understanding how to communicate with your customer comes down to communicating.
- Just ask them. Whether they tell you over email or phone or whatever, record it in your client notes so you’ll remember when it’s time to reach out.
- Be flexible. How you want to communicate is not very important in this situation. You need to communicate in the mode your customer is comfortable with or you risk losing them.
3. Reach out
Don’t wait for your customer to complain – contact them every week or two, especially shortly after purchase, to make sure everything is going well and they are using the product. The customer will appreciate that you took the time to contact them, and you can avoid any issues that could cost you future sales.
Tips for reaching out:
Reaching out is about making customers feel comfortable choosing you and building relationships in a way that will pay off for everyone.
- Be positive. Always approach the customer with the belief that he likes your product. If you have doubts about what you are offering, it will creep into your voice and your customer will feel it.
- Ask if there is a way to be of service. Don’t ask if there is a problem, even if you feel it. Ask in a way that suggests they can always contact you about anything.
4. Make recommendations
When you have a new product or service that your customer might be interested in, don’t be afraid to contact them and make recommendations. Rather than being annoyed by this sales technique, most customers will appreciate that you thought of them.
Tips for recommendations:
Do not think of yourself as a salesperson but as a consultant who will help the customer solve a problem when you make recommendations.
- Realize their needs a little more. Selling to a current customer is easier than selling to a new customer, but you should always show that you care about their situation by asking about their additional needs.
- Show genuine excitement. If you have a new product or service that you really think they could benefit from, be enthusiastic rather than shy about asking for another sale.
5. Develop specific deliverables
The best way to ensure that you and your client are on the same page is to define clear deliverables and set deadlines for deliveries. By being clear about what the customer is going to get and when, there is less chance that the customer will make the wrong assumptions about what you are able to deliver.
Tips for setting expectations:
Developing good deliverables will ensure that you and your client are in tune with expectations at all stages of the process.
Clearly define what you will deliver: Avoid being vague about what you will offer, which may lead your client to fill in the gaps. Explain in detail what the customer should expect to receive.
Under promise and over deliver: When describing what they will get and setting a time frame for it, be extremely conservative. That way, if things go wrong, you have some leeway. But, if things go well, you give them a pleasant surprise with either a higher deliverable, an earlier delivery, or both.
Client management pitfalls to avoid
Learning how to manage customers can be tricky. It’s important to remember some major pitfalls you can fall into when trying to act as a client project manager. Here are three of the most common to watch out for.
Pitfall #1: Not prioritizing customers
Salespeople are busy and the pressure to attract new customers is constant. Many salespeople don’t schedule enough time to reach and develop relationships with customers.
As a result, customers either leave for competitors or the salesperson misses vital upsell opportunities.
Pitfall #2: Not listening to customer needs
It’s easy to forget that a salesperson should always listen to a client’s needs, not just the first time when pitching. A salesperson who simply tries to upsell without having meaningful conversations with their customers will not develop those lasting customer relationships that are vital to a successful business. Instead, listen first and prescribe later.
Pitfall #3: Not being organized
Salespeople who rely on spreadsheets and don’t use CRM software are often disorganized and, as a result, lose touch with customers they’ve already sold. You need a software option that can keep customers front and center and alert you when it’s time to contact them. It can make a big difference in sales revenue.
Managing customers can be the best part of sales
Far from being a chore, salespeople should approach customer management as one of their most important activities. It’s rewarding to feel like you’re building deep relationships with customers and helping them solve their biggest problems.
It’s also good for the business, as loyal customers provide a foundation for long-term financial support. And it’s just easier to talk about your products and services with people you already know and who know you.
So schedule more time in the day to reach out to your current customers, and it will pay dividends.