Getting and Keeping Customers
Friends come and go but enemies accumulate. It’s much easier and less expensive to serve existing customers than to get new ones.
Your existing customers are the number one asset you have. Here’s a story about a company that’s has never figured that out.
An Internet Tale of Woe
Last year I had an Internet Service provider for my website, who did a very nice job for a long time. I never had to think about them, because the site always worked right. But they started to have problems, and my entire website was down several times, two or three days at a time.
I talked to my account rep, who apologized for the inconvenience and said he would help. But the problems didn’t go away. I decided to go above him. I sent the president some very angry emails. The only response: a voice mail from the same account rep, who offered to help again.
At about this time I started getting direct mail pieces from this same company, inviting me to use their web hosting services. Clearly whoever sent this mailing did not know I was already an angry customer. I was furious. I called the company, closed the account and switched to a new hosting company.
Meanwhile the direct mail pieces still kept coming, and by the way they said "Guaranteed 99.9% uptime" which if you do the math was a blatant lie.
Even after I closed the account, they continued to try to draft my credit card for $50 per month. It took more emails and phone calls to straighten that out! And I still get mail from them every few months. Every time I get anything from them it makes me mad. And I swear I will never, ever do business with them again.
Now here’s a company with good marketing, good use of direct mail, and good (though otherwise dishonest) advertising, who doesn’t know how to keep a customer happy. They only know how to replace angry customers with ignorant ones.
Very, very dumb. And very expensive. We all know it would cost them a lot less money to do a good job for their existing customers than to acquire new ones, set them up, give them web addresses and passwords and transfer their files. It was certainly a major hassle for me to change and start over with a new vendor.
Don’t Lose a Friend Over Incompetence and Apathy
Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate. You can’t afford to lose a friend, especially over incompetence and apathy. Don’t let this happen to you. Take good care of your customers. Maintain a personal relationship with them. If you do a bad job at this, all the great marketing in the world will just put you out of business faster.
Common sense knows better than to treat customers this way, but it’s still worth saying: In your rush to get new customers, don’t forget the old ones. And remember that most of your existing customers are unaware of your entire range of products and services. They need to hear your whole sales story just as much as everyone else does.