Did you know that it is six to seven times more costly to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one? In fact, you risk having a 50 percent attrition rate for accounts left dormant over a five-year period, according to a report by Bain & Company.

In marketing, the focus is usually on customer acquisition. It is by far the most appealing and seductive route to higher sales or profits. Building real relationships with existing customers is generally a low priority. According to a report by Econsultancy, most companies simply do not engage in business-to-business relationship building due to:

  • A shortage of resources – 22%
  • No clearly defined strategy – 19%
  • Technology limitations – 13%
  • Lack of single customer view – 10%

Marketing budgets are frequently over-focused on customer acquisition. However, unless your company is just starting out, your current customers may actually contain more untapped potential than theoretical new ones. It is far easier, and more cost efficient to retain your existing client base.

One of the main ways to retain your current customer base is to be out ahead, waiting for them to arrive. This means embracing new communication channels and using data to create a more complete picture of service.

4 ESSENTIAL TACTICS FOR EXCEPTIONAL B2B RELATIONSHIP BUILDING:

First, you must understand the communication channels your current client base is using. Make your customer service agents know your customers well, including what they want, their history with you and their preferred communications channel. Use your customer service departments to be a centralized collection point for complaints, comments and product suggestions. This data could be useful later in the customer life cycle. When your customer in on-boarded, find out which channel they prefer for service assistance. Lastly, move towards mobile. Mobile means of communication will take over from the traditional mechanisms.

Second, train, train and do more training. Ensure front-line employees know how and engage with existing and potential customers, using their preferred communications method.

Third, treat your customers as friends. Having bought from you at least one time before, they are already in agreement with your company’s selling proposition, product, organizational philosophy and ‘niche’ in the marketplace. Your main differentiator now is the level of service you provide, this is what will keep your customers loyal. The personalized touch will go a long way.

Fourth, build your team. As you bring on new hires, do they have the right temperament and personality? Will they fit into your company culture and thus effectively communicate your selling proposition to your customer base.

Lastly, your customers are already loyal to your company… keep them. Constantly remind him or her of what you stand for – because everyone eventually forgets.