Communicating with customers during their contract

Understandably, many businesses focus on sales. When you are a new company it is vital to your success. It is exciting to get your first customers. You focus on your sales funnel, putting time, money and effort into getting leads and converting them to paying customers.

But successful businesses understand that a sale is just the start of the journey. To grow, you need to maximise your customer lifetime value. That means making sure that they buy from you again and again.

When you sign a customer up to a contract for a period of time, it is easy to think that you’ve done just that. But the truth is that you have to work just as hard to keep the customer as you did to get them in the first place.

Someone will buy from you because they understand the value and benefits they are likely to get from doing so. They stay with you because they have realised the value and benefits you provide.

So, when someone has a contract with you, it is important to regularly remind them of that value and the main way of doing that is through consistent communication.

If you regularly meet or call them, then communication should not be an issue. All you need to remember to do is to send them a welcome email and then a follow up email after each call or meeting.

If, however, your product or service is delivered remotely so you do not have a need to regularly call or meet them, then you have more work to do:

First, make sure that you have a series of communications set up when they first buy your product or service – to “onboard” them. What you send will depend on your product or service, but typically you should include:

  • A welcome email, potentially with links to information, training or instructions. It is important to include a telephone number in case they have any queries.
  • A follow-up email a few days later to make sure they are happy with the product or service. If appropriate, ask if they have been able to set it up, if they found any issues and reiterate that you are there to help.
  • Around ten days after purchase, send a similar follow-up email. Include testimonials or case studies if appropriate.
  • Then send regular emails (assuming you have their permission!). Monthly newsletters work well, but make sure you include relevant information, hints and tips as well as testimonials and case studies. These are also useful for asking for referrals and feedback (as well as to tell customers about improvements you have made due to their feedback).
  • If you have an opportunity to upsell the customer to another product or service, send a separate email but make sure you follow this up with a phone call (depending on the value of the product or service). This is also a great time to ask for feedback.
  • When the contract has around 30 days left, send them a reminder. If possible, include an incentive to renew quickly. Make sure you include a number to call if they have any concerns.
  • Send a further reminder two weeks before the contract ends.
  • Send a third reminder with 7 days of the contract left.
  • Follow this up with a phone call if appropriate.
  • Send a final reminder with 2 days of the contract left.

If the customer does not renew their contract, try to call them (send an email if this isn’t possible). Express your disappointment that they have not renewed and ask why, explaining that you will use their feedback to make improvements.

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