The prospect has said “yes” and now they are officially your customer. Let the true selling begin! The money and time that you have invested into advertising, word of mouth referrals, and customer service has blessed you with a new customer. Now it is up to you to make the relationship last. New and current customers need to be treated as if your business depends on it — because it does! Here are a few ways to maximize your advertising ROI and maintain customer satisfaction after your customer has said “yes”:

Handle all customer complaints ASAP

As soon a customer makes a complaint resolve it immediately. This is not the time to be defensive or combative, rather it is the time to listen and learn from the customer in order to figure out how their problem can be solved. In this day and time it is possible that the customer will make a complaint via social networking sites such as Yelp, Facebook, or Twitter. It is very important to monitor these sites regularly to know what people are saying about your business. If you or your staff come across a complaint investigate it further and resolve it as soon as possible. Once the complaint has been resolved ask the customer to modify or update their review of your business (if the complaint was made online). Bonus Tip: You can keep a customer for life based how effectively you resolve any problems that may arise.

Accept returns without thinking twice!

Unless the customer is clearly trying to take advantage of you, it is always wise to accept returns. If a customer decides it is necessary to return an item find out why. See if you can offer another product or service to replace the returned item(s). Even if the return cannot be replaced, count your losses as a gain because accepting returns is cheaper than finding new customers.

Offer discounts for new products / services or upgrades

Whenever your business has new offerings or upgrades invite current customers to try it out at a discounted price. Many customers will be glad that you thought of them to try out your new stuff. Additionally, providing them the opportunity to purchase your new products/services at discounted price is again a lot cheaper than finding new customers.

Thank current customers for referrals

If you receive a referral, be sure to thank the customer that made the referral. Word of mouth marketing is the best marketing around and it does not cost your small business a dime. It is wise to show gratitude and reward those bring you more business.

Feature current customers

If your business has a blog, newsletter or even a Facebook page, feature customers that use your products/services. This is a great way to highlight outstanding customers while helping to make others in the community confident about your offerings.

Assess current customers need for your product / services

Meet with customers or contact them bi-annually or annually to make sure that your product or service is still a fit for them. If the customer no longer needs your product or service figure out why (i.e., competition, technology, changing industry, etc) and see if there is a way to keep the customer with you. This assessment is like a progress report for your business. It gives you the opportunity to get feedback from customers and gives you a clear understanding of where your business stands.

The real selling begins after the customers first purchase. It is wise to implement ways to keep your customers coming back for more. After all you spent a ton of money to get them to you. Now spend a ton of time showing them that you are grateful that they have decided to business with you.