Customers rule and it would be hard to deny that the continued quest for new customers isn’t a worthy endeavor for business large and small. And yet…And yet, in their quest to attract new customers they often overlook, or even ignore, a critical audience that has already connected with them—their existing customers.
The same is true of communicators. Whether internal customers or external clients, communicators serve a lot of masters—some more effectively than others! And just like organizations, there can be a tendency to take our long-term clients and customers for granted. Think about the difference between your relationships with long-term vs. new customers—whether an internal department head, or an external client.
There can just be something somehow different—however subtly—between our enthusiasm and excitement for a new account than the energy we bring to our long-term relationships. It’s not unlike, actually, our personal relationships.
Consider your own interactions with those you consider to be your customers. Do you:
- Recognize when a new customer comes on board in some meaningful way? Do they know that you value their business and hope that they will return?
- Seek feedback from these new clients after your first engagement to find out what worked well and what might be improved in the future?
- Seek ongoing feedback regularly over the course of your communication relationships, including from those you may have worked with for years?
- Convey in explicit ways how much you value the opportunity to work together?
- Resist the tendency to become complacent and give “less than your best” to customers you may have been serving for years?
- Have methods of staying engaged with your customers in meaningful ways?
These connections are so simple to do and yet so often overlooked. Like the farmer in Russell Conwell’s well known “Acres of Diamonds” story, communicators are often sitting on piles of riches they don’t even recognize as they seek continually to find new work.
Yes, it is important to continue to build business because you never know when a key contact may leave the organization—or, if external, seek another service provider. And yet…
You have the opportunity to minimize the loss of existing customers or clients by taking the time to serve them well, letting them know they matter and staying meaningfully engaged. The next time you interact with a customer, regardless of how long-term your relationships may be, consider how you can clearly and meaningfully convey their value to you and your enthusiasm about the relationship. The results will be worth it.