Charles Dickens led his character Ebenezer Scrooge through an uncomfortable re-evaluation of his life by reviewing his past, present and future. Business owners should do the same.
Instead of coasting through the first month of the new financial year and congratulating yourself on surviving it’s time to re-evaluate your business by reviewing your plans for your customers – current customers, those you have lost, and those who are still to come.
Customer Plan – Present
Take a look at your current list of customers. Often these clients are ignored.
Everyone is happy, right? There is nothing to do for them, right? Wrong! Develop a plan on how to keep these customers. Review their current situation and determine if you can help them further. Talk to them about becoming a reference. Set up a communication and education plan that will keep your name ‘top of mind’.
Include writing of personal letters and sending small gifts. Continue to develop and nurture the trust they have given to you and your relationship.
Customer Plan – Past
Review your customer lists of five or so years ago. Whatever happened to those customers? Where did they go and how can you get them back?
Develop a plan to re-engage them. Start with a phone call. Even if they aren’t interested in your product or service today, they may be in the future.
Ensure they are on your email distribution lists. A customer is only lost when you let go of the relationship. Don’t.
Customer Plan - Future
Take a step back and think about why a customer might call you. What do they want from you and how can you help them? Just as importantly – how can you reach them?
Utilise social media whether it be LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogs or any other communication vehicle over the Internet. Create videos. Record podcasts.
Speak at local events or service clubs. All of these will position you as an expert.
Publish articles in trade magazines and local papers on every aspect of your business that might resonate with a potential customer.
Reviewing your plans for customers past, present and future is not going to be a comfortable process. It will result in a great deal of work. However, hopefully, it will also result in increased business.