It was a relationship of more than 30 years. As far as anyone knew, there were no problems. However, the customer decided to move on. When asked, “why?” the answer was simply, “We decided to go in another direction.”
The “customer” in this story was me. My vendor was shocked. It was an awkward situation for two businesses in a relatively small community.
What happened? Simply put, the relationship died.
Many businesses work so hard to acquire new customers, they sometimes ignore the ones they already have. It is an all-too-easy trap.
According to the website mycustomer.com, it cost five times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to retain an old one. However, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent while the probability of selling to a new customer is only 5-20 percent.
Many times, we make the mistake of thinking that marketing and relationship efforts end at the initial sale. Short of a one-time thank you note, the customer often only hears from us when the bills come out.
Imagine if your spouse no longer heard from you once the wedding day ended. It would be difficult to maintain a long-term marriage under those conditions.
Taking care of customers after the sale will solidify the relationship. Ongoing marketing, communication and appreciation will fortify it. There are plenty of competitors that want to take your customers. Don’t let them.
David Specht is editor and publisher of the Minden Press-Herald.