The importance of customer visits: Tools & tips

The Importance of Customer Visits: Tools & Tips

By Kishana Citadelle & Coralie Petit
Updated: May 23, 2024, first publication: August 2021

Nowadays, with people being so connected, companies often or completely forget the importance of customer visits. A digital tool can show you statistics, but can it read the true interests or intentions of a client?

The answer to that is most likely… No, it doesn’t.

Usually, the more customers you gain or have to deal with, the more it’s essential to keep a close relationship with them.

And wouldn’t you like to be considered more than data or a click on an ad? I’m pretty sure you would!

Let’s unveil the importance of customer visits and how to plan it efficiently. 👇

Why are Customer Visits Important?

What are the Benefits?

Customers are constantly being solicited by your sales team or your competitors.

In fact, they are likely to appreciate talking with a salesman who is not trying to sell goods, and instead, someone who is invested in hearing about their problems and preferences.

By meeting with them:

  • It helps customers feel appreciated;
  • It creates a certain bond.

👉 Meeting clients in their environment shows you how they integrate your software into their workday. And by doing so, you’d be able to study their behavior and show them your support.

  • It detects needs or problems that would not have been obvious on the telephone or by e-mail;
  • Company workers will feel more motivated as they will get honest and personal feedback on their product or service.

You must keep in mind that you are not the only one soliciting customers. It’s a competitive market, so getting as much personal information as possible will keep you ahead of the game.

And eventually, seeing their smile and satisfaction in person can be quite a reward. 🏆

Who Does it Concern, and Why?

You might want to bring your whole team such as the marketing and analytics members to the meeting, but remember: the goal here is not to sell, but to listen and be understanding.

Therefore, it should only concern the most profitable customers.

Here is how to do it:

  • Refer to your CRM tools to highlight via the sales dashboard (or cross tables) those who have ordered the most often or with the best average basket;
  • Profile your customers. For instance, by using a progression metric, which assumes that the most interesting customers are those who have the best potential (good contact, several exchanges to date), but who have not yet made many purchases.

In a logic of cost reduction, there’s a strategy to take into account: the optimization of b2b sales funnel.

👉 You organize your customer visits by geographical area, and link them to lose as little time as possible between each appointment.

This method can only boost your notoriety amongst customers and build customer loyalty. Once it is done properly, your efficiency to read and better understand the customer is increased.

💡 Our tip: Check out our lead generation in digital marketing and lead conversion to know how to best generate and convert lead into customer!

Why is Customer Attraction Important?

Customer attraction is vital for:

  • business growth,
  • brand development,
  • and maintaining a competitive edge.

In fact, it ensures a steady revenue stream and promotes brand awareness through word-of-mouth, enhancing the company’s reputation. ☝️

Also, effective customer attraction strategies enable businesses to:

  • lead in competitive markets,
  • drive innovation,
  • and secure long-term viability.

In essence, attracting customers is foundational to not only immediate financial health, but also to the sustained success and adaptability of a business in a dynamic market environment.

What is a Customer Visit Program?

Customer visits provide an opportunity for interaction between the parties involved to reach a settlement.

Discussions may include:

  • pricing,
  • terms,
  • advertising,
  • and 'team' approaches to visits.

Strategizing is very essential and should not be omitted! It gives you a true insight into a customer’s perspective.

Customer visits can be divided into four classes:

  • Customer visits with the senior management team: owners, presidents, general managers, and so forth;
  • Customer visits with the sales managers;
  • Customer visits with a team of two or more people;
  • Customer visits with an individual: a member of the sales management team, or a salesperson, for instance.

4 Strategic Steps for Effective Customer Visits

1- Planning Visits

Preparation is key: it helps with your confidence and organization.

Scheduling the Visit

The first step is to make an appointment with the person or people in charge:

  • Ask them when they will be available and set a time and date;
  • Make sure that each party is aware of what the meeting will be about beforehand;
  • Speak to them about confidentiality, and that everything you report back to your team will be done with their consent.

Preparing Your Approach

On your end, if you haven’t already, keep studying your customer:

  • See what has changed in the use of the product from now up until the day of the meeting;
  • Study their company! You could visit their website to learn more about their products, services, and their world.
  • Build a client portfolio, or a persona.

Organizing Your Team

At the same time:

  • Make sure each attendee on your team knows their role;
  • Review and reread your files as well as the history of exchanges and purchases, if applicable, to have all the keys in hand;
  • Do not forget to have a backup plan! It shows your professionalism in case something goes wrong.

Pay attention to CAC customer acquisition cost and customer lifetime value calculation to balance your fee.

2- Provisioning Excellent Customer Service During Visits

Once every concerned individual is informed about the meeting, this is where you get into the gist of things.

Start with light conversations before getting to the purpose of the meeting.

💡 Our tip: Make them feel comfortable, as you do not want to seem too keen to get down to business.

Keep in mind that this is a mutual agreement. That way, the customer, or client, won’t run away.

Topics to Come Up With

  • You should be the student and the mentor:
    • pay attention to them,
    • try to find the best solution to their problem;
  • Get to know what their daily work life looks like:
    • ask open-ended questions,
    • allow the customer to take the lead and talk;
  • Focus on who uses your products or services the most. And if so, how often and what are the main reasons?
  • Once you have determined their necessity for said products and services, ask them what they would like to be changed. Are there any bugs?

Good Practices

  • Above all, take notes! Whether the information seems useful to you, this data might be useful later or will speak to one of your colleagues.
  • Don’t leave the room without summarizing what was said and mentioning the next steps you will take to ensure their needs are met.

Many benefits can come out of this! 🧐

3- Personalizing the Customer Visits

Personalizing customer visits and interviews is a powerful strategy to:

  • enhance the customer experience,
  • increase engagement,
  • and ultimately drive sales and loyalty.

Data-Driven Personalization

First, you should use your collected data and analyzes to come up with customized greetings and recommended products or services.

👉 Using CRM systems or AI automates data management and allows for personalized recommendations.

Customized Offers

Secondly, you could create personalized offers and loyalty programs that offer exclusive deals based on customer history and preferences. Ultimately, you could adjust the physical or digital environment to suit individual customer preferences, enhancing their overall experience.

By personalizing the visit, you will enhance satisfaction and encourage loyalty! 🤝

4- And… Share Feedback After the Visits

In one word: debrief.

Reviewing

Review what happened:

  • What did you learn?
  • Were some of your questions answered?
  • Did you reach your goals?
  • What was the most helpful?

Following-up

Then follow up with the customer and your team!

💡 Our tip: Send the customer a thank-you note, so they can know you appreciate the time spent together and the feedback they have given you.

It doesn’t need to stop there, as keeping a close relationship and giving your customer or client the best experience is not a daily process. It’s a constant and ongoing contact with them, which is why your next steps should involve:

  • Making a new appointment;
  • Drawing up a diagnosis or a commercial proposal;
  • Preparing for the negotiation based on the customer's specific requests:
  • Identifying trends in the marketplace: If a number of your customer visits reveal the same concern, this may be an area that you need to focus on;
  • Communicating important elements to the relevant teams, e.g., the after-sales team.

How to Simplify the Customer Visit?

There are interesting tools for note-taking and customer visit reports, as it allows you to create any business document, tailored to your image.

👉 Your documents are unified and 100% dematerialized, which is best for consistency. Also, centralization benefits the whole company, especially the sales representatives in the field, who no longer lose any of their work.

Depending on the different email scenarios configured:

  • The managers receive a summary and the customer a recap by email;
  • If the visit is successful, you can even have the customer digitally sign an order in the same breath!

By using flexible and customizable software, your sales representatives have all the necessary tools at their disposal on their smartphone or tablet:

  • Customer files are updated in real-time;
  • Connection to your ERP;
  • Generation of sales documents (quotations, order forms, invoices);
  • Access to order history, stocks, and your catalog.

Have you tested any digital tools for your customer relations? 🤔

Customer Visits: In Summary

💡 Here is one last piece of advice: Always look to the future, but do not forget that customer satisfaction is crucial to a company’s success.

Nothing beats a face-to-face meeting as hidden gems can be said. And to take advantage of this meeting, help yourself with the appropriate tools.

Take the time to know who you are catering to, as customers buy when they feel loyalty and consideration.

Great relationships lead to great opportunities!

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