The existing customer: an often overlooked entity in today’s sales-oriented and new customer-driven business environment. Many times they are on automatic pilot, so-to-speak. They place their regular orders; pay the same way they always have; and typically vendors leave them alone assuming if there is something amiss, the customer would be the one to bring it up due to their long-standing relationship. The economic downturn has shown many of us in recent years this is simply not standard operation procedure anymore.
Two main issues come to mind in this particular scenario that can play havoc with the above assumptions:
- Vendor loyalty is a weakening and outdated concept. Customers today will go where the savings and superior product or service are, regardless of how long the two have been doing business together.
- The business and regulatory landscapes are changing more rapidly now in many industries than ever before. Companies are being bought and sold at an unprecedented rate, and without a proactive approach to existing customer bases those companies are in real danger of losing both business and potentially past-due accounts receivables. Laws, rules and regulations are shifting and changing at an extremely fast pace. The question then becomes, “How do I broach a topic like this with an existing client?”
Insert Credit Applications Here
An effective method of opening those lines of communication is to periodically update your credit application with your existing customers. New and updated information from your customers can provide you with strong talking points that can improve your relationship with them, as well as obtain information about changes they may have undergone since the last application was submitted. Having your sales team review updated credit application information can open many productive new lines of business that you may not have been aware of otherwise. In addition, in the unfortunate event of a collections scenario, you will have updated information to provide to your agency to assist in your recovery efforts.
In all things business, information is power. Updating credit applications can provide your business with increased sales and revenue opportunities, as well as added protection against revenue loss. For a sample credit application you can use, click here.
Have you already implemented a similar process into your customer retention/management procedures? What about other ways to stay in regular communication with them? We want to know your experiences, so share them with us using the comment field below!