The Key to Business Growth? Radically Improved Post-Sales Customer Service

By Kris Wanamaker, Right on the Line Commercial Director

In the IT channel and partner space, it’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of a sale and the excitement of closing the deal with a new customer, that it’s easy to forget that there is often massively untapped value in our existing customer database.

Aside from the potential for annuity renewals business, existing customers are also an opportunity to bring in new business through referrals. Delivering an exceptional post-sales experience is the most effective way to capitalise on both, by turning existing customers into repeat customers that will then bring in new customers through word-of-mouth referrals.

  • Keeping old customers happy and returning for more is the key to business growth – the more customers you can keep and continue to sell to, the easier it is to achieve business goals.
  • Customer acquisition budgets usually exceed customer retention spending, yet selling to an existing customer is up to 6 times cheaper. (Business2Community)

So why are we still so focused on acquisition? For those who work in sales, their skill set leans toward acquisition and that’s often what they’re really good at. Once a skill becomes a strength, it becomes time to turn that same attention to other spheres, like customer retention. This is especially important given that it’s more cost-effective to keep existing customers happy than constantly acquire new ones.

The success rate of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is only 5-20%! (Marketing Metrics)

The most common mistake that businesses make is thinking that customers will automatically stay happy and loyal if they have a great product or service. This might be true in some cases, but the reality is that this can only be a short-term approach.

Despite a great product or service, some of your customers may leave you anyway. Why? Because competitors are also vying for your customers’ attention, and they might just succeed in luring them away.

Gartner Group statistics tell us that 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers, but in case that wasn’t convincing enough, here are five reasons why you should consider putting more resources behind taking care of existing customers

1. It’s all about those conversion rates. 

Existing customers have already shown they’re willing to buy from you, and unless they’ve had a disappointing experience, they may do it again. The trust and confidence in your service are already there, you know something about them – all of which makes it easier to predict their needs and identify their pain points.

2. Less marketing required. 

Building a relationship with a new customer costs six times more than it does to keep an existing customer happy.  When you spend less time finding new customers you’ll be able to shift resources to minimising customer defection through marketing and services.

3. Your chance to differentiate the customer experience beyond product/service. 

Leverage existing customer relationships to improve your service delivery by listening to their feedback. Just ask, listen, and keep working on enhancing your offering to ensure you’re building a relationship with customers based on true value.

4. Higher profits. 

New customers are often focused on price, while it’s easier to re-ignite the interest of existing customers in your products and services through cross-selling and up-selling. If the service is excellent, people will pay.

5. Lower costs, better return on effort.

According to Bain and Company, all it takes to increase profitability by 75% is a 5% increase in customer loyalty. This is because the higher cost of acquisition actually renders many customer relationships unprofitable during the early days. It’s only further down the line, when the cost of serving existing customers drops, and their purchases increase that the returns become more profitable.

In other words, as businesses, we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the real value in customer loyalty. Instead, we should be prioritising resource allocation to focus on creating a better customer experience through post-sales service brilliance. Why? The customers we already have are the quickest ticket to maximising revenue and making our businesses more profitable.

But how do we actually tap into this potential? It starts with realising that we’re no longer selling products and solutions. We’re selling an experience. In my next article, I’ll look at how selling the experience, not the product, is key to sweetening post-sales service. 

We’ve helped improve sales, service, and marketing for our customers for almost 20 years, helping to craft materials, content and sales enablement tools that bridge the gap between sales, service, and marketing, by focusing on the customer.  

Contact me directly or get in touch with Right on the Line to see how we can equip your teams to deliver next-level post-sales service.