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Expert Advice for Medium and Midsize Businesses

How a Better Customer Experience Can Improve Profitability

Remember the adage, “Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver, the other gold”? This rule of thumb is also applicable to growing a business.

While it’s crucial to acquire new customers, your current customer base is even more valuable—yet many companies are failing to utilize their existing customers to gain incremental sales.

In a recent survey, What’s Keeping SMB Leaders Up at Night, we found that nearly 40% of SMB executives are worried about their ability to leverage their current customer base for upsell and resell opportunities, and 35% are concerned with their ability to proactively nurture customer relationships.

To learn how to address these pain points, we asked a variety of industry experts to share their knowledge with us during one of our Oracle SMB Twitter Tweetchats, Enhancing Your Customers Profitability through Customer Experience.

Continue reading to see what these experts had to say.

Why is better to retain more business from an existing client than it is to sell to a new client?

  • It’s much more cost efficient and benefits your bottom line to retain business, rather than selling to someone new. Did you know a number of studies show it costs 5 times more to attract a new customer versus retention?” – Tamara McCleary (@TamaraMcCleary), CEO and Brand Ambassador of Thulium
  • Beyond just the economics, long term clients become your best advocates and references! Plus, the cost of customer acquisition can be extraordinary regardless of industry. – Jeff Wartgow (@JWartgow), Senior Director Product Management of Oracle Service Cloud
  • Customer acquisition costs average 4-5x more than customer retention costs. The first rule of any business is to retain customers; build a relationship with them which lowers acquisition costs. The probability of selling to existing customers is 60-70%, while probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. – Joe Fuster (@HJosephFuster), Oracle Global Head of Customer Experience Cloud
  • You can’t provide service to customers you don’t have… Sell first, then provide the BEST service so they never leave. – Brian Moran (@BrianMoran), Award-winning business advisor and CEO of Brian Moran & Associates

What ways can you make customer experience extend beyond the initial sale and keep the dialogue with your customer going?

  • So very many things. Are you using MarTech (marketing technology) solutions? Are you keeping in regular contact with the customer? What about social media, are you conversing with your customer there? Even something as simple as a handwritten note, a rarity in today’s world, will help you stand out. CX is about engagement and going beyond just tech to build real relationships with your clients. – Tamara McCleary (@TamaraMcCleary), CEO and Brand Ambassador of Thulium
  • When it comes to servicing existing customers, BE PROACTIVE, check in to make sure nothing is going off the rails. Lots of amazing technologies can help in proactive service such as the Internet of Things. These can aid on-going customer engagement. – Jeff Wartgow (@JWartgow), Senior Director Product Management of Oracle Service Cloud
  • Loyalty applications work wonders for staying in direct contact with your customer. Simple surveys that ask about the experience and then gamify the results so the customer is acknowledged. – Joe Fuster (@HjosephFuster), Oracle Global Head of Customer Experience Cloud

What incentives can you give to existing customers to encourage more frequent or larger purchases?

  • First, of course, are price breaks. We do this with customers who contract for a longer contract or for multiple services. Second, considering offering enhanced customer support or specialized training. We have found that customizable bundled programs have been a great incentive for our clients. – Tamara McCleary (@TamaraMcCleary), CEO and Brand Ambassador of Thulium
  • Well, being the service guy, I say, the better the service, the better chance of repeat business! However, through on-going engagement, you can have insights into when customers need a new product or upgrade. – Jeff Wartgow (@Jwartgow), Senior Director Product Management of Oracle Service Cloud
  • I like the Starbucks model, a custom app for loyal customers that makes it simple to redeem at point of purchase. – Joe Fuster (@HjosephFuster), Oracle Global Head of Customer Experience Cloud

How can you increase the reputation of your brand so customers are less likely to switch to competitors?

  • Get better at marketing and sales. Build relationships which make your current customers brand evangelists. Your current customers can do more to sell your product or service than you can. Get then involved! Finally… Listen! What do your customers need? Clients leave because companies ignore them post-sale. – Tamara McCleary (@TamaraMcCleary), CEO and Brand Ambassador of Thulium
  • Be visible… If you deliver great CX, let the world know. Consider exceptional service as differentiation, especially if you are in a crowded or commodity market. Never let someone talk bad about your CX. If something is wrong, fix it right away and let the world know. – Jeff Wartgow (@Jwartgow), Senior Director Product Management of Oracle Service Cloud
  • Follow the Apple retail model (from when they first opened retail stores.) Fix the problem. Smile. Do your absolute best to avoid charging the customer for fixing the problem they have with your product. – Joe Fuster (@HjosephFuster), Oracle Global Head of Customer Experience Cloud

Fill in the blank: _______ would improve my customers’ experience and enhance their profitability.

  • Creating real, human connections would definitely enhance CX! Reaching out via social media, email and great content is another key. Incentivize sales teams to retain customers, not just got after new clients. – Tamara McCleary (@TamaraMcCleary), CEO and Brand Ambassador of Thulium
  • One answer is “connected products” for those in relevant industries. Another is “proactive service”, fixing things before they break. – Jeff Wartgow (@Jwartgow), Senior Director Product Management of Oracle Service Cloud
  • The answer is Artificial Intelligence. AI should be used to augment all your systems. Get the right product or service to the right person, at the right time. AI can improve how you deliver value and service (at the right price) to grow market share. – Joe Fuster (@HjosephFuster), Oracle Global Head of Customer Experience Cloud

Are there any other ways to enhance the profitability of your current customers?

  • Listening to your customer’s needs is critical to creating new and/or improved offerings. This way you can retain your customers and sell additional products they actually needed. In the end, building genuine relationships is the greatest key to enhancing customer profitability. – Tamara McCleary (@TamaraMcCleary), CEO and Brand Ambassador of Thulium
  • Keep up with the latest technologies, you would not believe what is possible. – Jeff Wartgow (@Jwartgow), Senior Director Product Management of Oracle Service Cloud
  • Streamline re-orders, simplify billing, bundle new products, surprise and delight existing customers with exclusive offers. All of these strategies illustrate the value of focusing on your customers’ needs first and then the results will follow. – Joe Fuster (@HjosephFuster), Oracle Global Head of Customer Experience Cloud

Learn more ways to make existing customers more profitable. Download the ebook.

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