By Mark Porter
In most businesses the majority of sales come from a minority of customers. It is vital that businesses service these good accounts to the best of their ability and tracks these customers so they can know immediately if the customer is becoming dissatisfied with the company or its products and services.
We often use the 80/20 rule - that 80% of revenue comes from 20% of customers but I was talking to one owner recently that stated 90% of his business came from 10% of his customers.
The loss of one of these customers can be a big blow to a company so it is vital that you do everything possible to manage these accounts.
First you must identify these accounts - which most people can do through their sales records. Once you identify these customers you must make the process of working with your company so easy that it will take a major price difference or a major mistake for them to take their business elsewhere.
This can begin with convenience. Providing information such as Was my job shipped ?, What quantity did we order last time ?, Are my samples ready ? 24/7 allows the customer to work on his timetable and saves him and you a great deal of time. The internet is excellent for this.
Building customer profiles of the exact needs of each customer ensures work is done correctly every job and saves time looking for information. Problem Histories can be pulled and discussed with the customer on a monthly, quarterly basis to build relationships and ensure future jobs are run smoothly.
Provide email updates when events happen in your plant that effects these customers, Keeping customers fully informed builds relationships and reduces problems.
Monitoring customers requests for estimates and orders can ensure that you are notified of a customers growing dissatisafaction before it is too late to salavage the relationship. If you normally get 20 estimates a month from a customer and you only received 5 last month -get on the phone and find out why.
And we always want to add more good accounts so monitor Won/Loss estimate records or Jobs per month. There may be a customer whose sales volume is not sufficient to get your attention yet but maybe their won/loss record is high, their jobs are large run and we get a decent markup on their jobs. - cultivate that account and they may become part of your 80/20 group.
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