By Melanie Turek, Industry Director, Frost & Sullivan
“An educated consumer is our best customer.”
That’s the tag line from a series of TV ads that ran on the local station when I was a kid in New York, for a mom-and-pop clothing store. It was a counter-intuitive message for the time, but it’s always stuck with me, because it’s always made sense. And it’s as true today as it was back then.
As all sales managers know, it’s easier to get more business out of an existing customer than it is to land a new one. That means your sales efforts should focus on your customer base to drive revenues—and the best way to do that is to demonstrate the value of your products and services, day in and day out. If your customers know what makes your offering better than the competition’s—and are able to use them efficiently and effectively, whenever they need to—they will be much more likely to continue doing business with you in the future, and to look to you for new products and services as their needs arise.
Indeed, having a well trained customer base that understands your product delivers several clear benefits:
- Higher customer engagement. If your customers know how to use your products and services effectively, they’ll become much more engaged with your business and your brand. That makes it much more likely they will look to you to supply their future needs in your market area.
- Decreased customer attrition. When customers understand your business and your products, they are much more likely to stay loyal to your brand. This is especially true if they feel they are getting added value from interacting with your business. Educational sessions that highlight broad areas and issues of interest—which may be related to your products and services, but not directly about them—can go a long way toward cementing customer loyalty.
- Higher revenues per customer. When people know how to use your products effectively, they will get more value from them—and they will look to your business to supply new products and services as they need them. It’s much easier and more cost-effective to grow business with an existing customer than jump-start business with a new one.
- Lower overall support costs. By providing ongoing training to your customers, you are essentially nipping support and service issues in the bud. This will help you keep costs down, since you can address these needs for more people at one time, and on your schedule. Anytime you can lower the number of support calls into your business, you are lowering costs—and improving customer satisfaction in the process.
By keeping your customers educated on the market you operate in—offering them best practices advices, news they can use, and specific product information—you are ensuring they stay connected, invested and loyal to your business. For more on how web conferencing can help you stay in touch with your customers, regardless of where they’re located and without incurring enormous expenses—join me for a webinar on Wednesday, February 23, 2:00 p.m. EST entitled “Effective Online Training: Tips from the Experts” and learn the insider secrets to a successful online training program.
Melanie is a renowned expert in unified communications, collaboration, social networking and content-management technologies in the enterprise. For 15 years, Ms. Turek has worked closely with hundreds of vendors and senior IT executives across a range of industries to track and capture the changes and growth in the fast-moving unified communications market. Melanie writes often on the business value and cultural challenges surrounding real-time communications, collaboration and Voice over IP, and she speaks frequently at leading customer and industry events.