Marketers are always focused on the next big thing – the next social media site, the next trade show, and the next customer. But what happens to prospects once they’ve been nurtured, engaged, and converted to a customer?

Keep up the engagement! There are more outlets than ever to stay in touch with customers. Just like prospects and leads, customers also have a life cycle and that cycle can turn stale if customers feel unsupported by your company after purchasing.

Don’t ignore the emotional bonds of a business relationship. Your customers chose your company because of connection during the sales cycle. You probably worked hard to get their business, so don’t abandon them now.  Here are three steps to ensure customers stay happy and engaged:

  1. Keep training to keep learning: Depending on the product or service you sell, customers might need to start their new life cycle with training. However, don’t throw new information at them in documents and webinars and then be unavailable when questions arise. Because they will have questions.
    • Engage customers with periodic check-in emails, asking how they’re implementing your services and if they have any feedback. Reaching out the them says, “We value you as a customer and want to make sure you’re happy.”
    • Try setting up a monthly newsletter to customers. This allows you to touch your entire customer base at one time, giving them information about product updates, accounting changes, etc.
  2. Two words – social media: Be one with Twitter. Make friends with Facebook. Embrace the LinkedIn lifestyle. Social media is your best ally when it comes to engaging customers, and everyone for that matter.
    • Give a shout out to customers who have embraced your services and gone above and beyond. This gives them good press and puts your company in a positive light as well – be sure to include their Twitter handle or back links.
    • Start a social media contest on Facebook or Twitter. Pose a trivia question about your company or industry and give away anything from trade show freebies to an iPad to the lucky winner.
  3. Be open to feedback: They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Are customers dissatisfied, ending contracts, or generally too quiet? Then don’t let that continue.
    • Whether through your new monthly newsletter or a page on your website, provide a forum for customers to give their opinions and suggestions. Forums are also a great platform for customers to engage each other and bounce around ideas.
    • Consider the changes your customers are seeking. When they see their suggestions implemented, they feel emotionally invested in your product. Customers also have a fresh perspective – many have researched or considered your competitors, so they know what others have that you’re missing!

The more customers signing contracts, the happier your sales team. However, don’t obsess about bringing in as many customers as possible as quickly as possible. When you push quantity over quality, customers will feel it. No one wants to be just another number.

Instead, transform quality customers into brand ambassadors through engagement, education and open communication. Brand ambassadors have mastered your product, love your product, and want to spread the gospel throughout their industry. Current customers are your most credible advertisers and know when they’re appreciated.