What does it take to keep good customers and the revenue that comes from them? Follow these four steps and you’ll leverage more than you thought.
Make the most of your customer relationships. They are your greatest asset in business. A customer care call consists of four main levels. The first is managing your account and ensuring your customer is being taken care of in the manner promised.
The second level develops credibility with your client and furthers the depth of the relationship. On the third level, it provides you with insightful business intelligence. Finally, on the fourth level, a well-executed customer care call gives you the opportunity to mine an account for referrals and upsell opportunities.
Not every customer care call is well executed. Does the following sound familiar?
Salesperson: “Hi, just calling to touch base on the new product we installed. Is everything okay?”
Customer: “Yeah, everything’s fine.”
Salesperson: “No questions? Is there anything I can do for you?”
Customer: “No, we’re good.”
Salesperson: “Great. Let me know if you need anything. Bye.”
While this call did serve the purpose of verifying that there are no current issues with the new installation, nothing else was accomplished. The salesperson missed the opportunity to explore whether there are problems the customer may not yet be aware of. With a few probing questions, the salesperson can identify these and share relevant information, like case studies or testimonials.
Bottom line, managing the account is important, but make sure you’re looking beyond the customer’s immediate needs.
Level 1 – Gain Depth & Credibility
Beyond simple management, customer care calls also are an opportunity to foster depth and credibility within an account.
- Make sure you have more than one contact within a company. When a primary contact leaves, you have no connection with your customer. That makes it easy for a new vendor to replace you when your former contact gets replaced.
Depending on your level of trust with a customer, you may want to be more direct. Let them know that you understand that transitions happen frequently and that this account is important to you and your organization. Tell them you’d like to get interviews with other contacts in an effort to strengthen the connection between their organization and your own.
Level 2 – Mine for Business Intelligence
Existing customers are a goldmine of information about the use, effectiveness, problems, solutions and value related to almost every aspect of your products and business. Take advantage of your customers experience working with you and your organization.
Customer surveys are great, but the best information comes from sales reps who take the time to talk with their customers about their experience and where their industry is going.
- How do you use our product?
- How does it help you acquire new customers or maintain the one’s you have?
- How does it lower your cost?
- How does it increase your profitability?
- How can we improve our value to you?
If you’ve developed a trusted relationship, customers will tell you what they might not put on a survey. Getting full disclosure about their experience and what they see on the horizon is vital to your success.
Level 3 – Upsell Opportunities
Salespeople will admit that they don’t always talk to their customers as often as they’d like. Often we find that sales reps are selling a majority of their services to only 20% of their clients. That means they have an upsell opportunity with 80% of their customer base.
- To better leverage this, ask your existing customers questions like, “What projects do you have coming up in the next year where we might need to be involved?”
Discuss their future plans so you can be prepared. This demonstrates a concerted effort on your part to be forward thinking and anticipatory in order to help your customer continue to build their business.
Level 4 – Referrals
Once you’ve delivered on the value you promised in the original transaction with this customer, you’re now in a position to ask for referrals.
- Ask: Who else do you know that would benefit from our services?
When done properly, a customer care call is more than a simple account management tool. It keeps you up to date with your customer’s needs while allowing you to deepen your relationship and identify upsell opportunities.