Why there’s gold in those forgotten customers


If you want to grow your revenue - start with your existing customers, and make them feel valued.

I recently had a rant on LinkedIn about being sent a paltry (and empty) card from First Direct to ‘celebrate’ my being a customer for 25 years. At the same time, new customers were being rewarded with £100 just for joining. I felt so special.

That’s what it feels like being a forgotten customer. Seldom contacted, we gather dust on a database while our service providers are all out trying to win new customers. While this is costing them a fortune, the relationship with us could be so much more rewarding.

Depending on your sector, acquiring a new customer is thought to be anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. So, if you want to grow your revenue - start with your existing customers, and make them feel valued.

Four reasons existing customers matter:

  • Existing customers know who you are, they are easier to reach, have a conversation with and hear what you have to offer. They’ve already bought from you and, in the right circumstances, they'll spend more.
  • Your existing customer is someone else’s prospect. While you may take them (and their revenue) for granted your competitors will be busy trying to open the door with their own sweet smelling charms.
  • Businesses that are doing great things for their existing customers will find they talk about it. They’ll almost do your marketing for you. There’s nothing as powerful and satisfying as an incoming inquiry from someone already prepped to purchase.
  • Then there’s the figures. Research shows that increasing customer retention rates by 5% can increase profits between 25% to 95%.

Five inexpensive tips to make existing customers feel special:

None of this is expensive to do - all of it will keep your business in the minds of your customers. 

  • Create an email newsletter for existing clients, with offers only applicable to them and that reward their loyalty. 
  • Why not make sure that existing customers get to hear about your sales and special offers 24 hours before anyone else.
  • Add some extra fields to your CRM to capture things like birthdays, anniversaries - and set-up triggered reminders so you can surprise your customer.
  • Map out their year - and send them something helpful that will remind them of you each month. Things like seasonal advice on travel, financial year end and of course Christmas tips all help to add value to your relationship.
  • Set-up a private group on Facebook or LinkedIn where they can receive an invitation, join, chat and interact. Customer communities are great for building loyalty, creating content stories and giving you a direct communication channel.

So, not only is it good business practice (and just plain decent) to treat existing customers well; nurturing these relationships over time will ensure they don't become forgotten customers. Even better, it can significantly boost your bottom line.

This article is first in a series exploring The Thirteen Touchpoint Leaks™ by Bryony Thomas from her book Watertight Marketing. It’s a model that describes thirteen typical ways that most businesses leak profit in their marketing. 

Forgotten Customers is Leak #1. Sort this and you are on your way to a Watertight Marketing plan for your business.

If you want even more customer loyalty tips, head over to my article on the Watertight Marketing blog - ‘10 ways to build great customer loyalty.’

Ben Wheeler is a freelance marketing consultant and content writer working with growing businesses - and an Accredited Consultant with Watertight Marketing. He also helps clients produce articles for LinkedIn. Twitter @realbenwheeler


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