You have some lovely customers and you have probably spent a certain amount of money ‘buying’ them. You have probably purchased and given out some business cards. You may have paid for a website and domain name. You may have invested in an advert. You may have attended a networking event or two.

As many people know it is much easier and more cost effective to keep your existing customers and sell to them again, than it is to do all that hard work all over again to get some new customers. Don’t waste money acquiring customers only to ‘throw them away’ after a single sale.

Two years ago, a study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) revealed that four out of five executives believed that companies were losing sales every year because of a failure to engage with their customers. Furthermore, eighty percent suggested that increased customer engagement would translate into improved customer loyalty, and three quarters said it would translate into increased revenue and profits.*

In the ‘Do You Listen to your Customers Survey’ conducted by Research Plus+ in 2010, over 50% of businesses that had obtained feedback from their customers said that their turnover and their profits had increased as a result.

How are you communicating with your customers? Are you listening to what they say? What have you done as a result of what they told you? Customers are increasingly sophisticated. In the past you might have told a few people if you had experienced bad service or a poor product. The internet has transformed this. A quick message on Twitter or Facebook could quickly reach hundreds if not thousands of people.

Yes you can ask the questions where you will get praise for things done well by you and your team. Although this is encouraging and can be useful when you want to boost the team, these are not the responses that you really need.

To improve and be able to find out what your customers are looking for, you need to hear their other comments. You need to ask the difficult questions and find out their ideas on how you could improve.

So what are you waiting for? Ask your customers how you are doing. You might be surprised at what they say, both good and bad.

“Embrace the difficult questions and welcome any disappointing answers.”

* Study reported in a blog by Pam McGee ‘Don’t Focus on the Customer; Engage the Customer’ see

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