What is your rate of post sale customer abandonment?
How well does your organization “stay close to your customer”?
And whose responsibility is it, anyway?
Consider what happens when the first responsibility of your sellers is to hunt their next sale, rather than follow up on contracts once they come in house for execution.
Often, sellers leave customer retention, and customer experience, up to everyone else in their organization: the “non-sales” people. That is when customers can fall through the process cracks in an organization.
- Are these “non-sales” people competent enough to assume responsibility for retaining that customer?
- Are these “non-sales” folks formally empowered to do whatever it takes to retain that customer?
- Do these “non-sales” professionals have the same sense of urgency, and timeline, when fulfilling what was promised during sales negotiations?
Whose customer experience ratings are these, anyway?
Ideally, as a sales person of worth, you continue to communicate with your client as well as the internal teams responsible for post sale execution of contract.
You become the fulcrum continuously leveraging communication, collaboration, customer experience and customer retention.
However, when your sales organization is guilty of post sale customer abandonment, non-sales teams run the customer experience show. These often valuable, sometimes intuitive and potentially under-compensated employees own customer retention.
From their perspective, your internal staff thinks they are doing their jobs just fine, thank-you. They are meeting production scheduling timelines and fulfilling all criteria in their Project Management Office software programs.
In your job as a post sales customer abandonment specialist, you do not find out that things are off-track until your irate customer calls you.
You haven’t really stayed that close to your customer at all, have you?
According to Gartner research, 89% of customers make today’s business and buying decisions based on their experiences of working with you and your organization. That statistic represents a 53% increase from 2011.
It just could be that “customer experience” is the customer’s evaluation of the total value your post-sale employees provided. That’s a sobering thought.
Staying close to your customers is not accomplished by emails, voicemails and surveys.
Post sale customer abandonment gets help from the current manner in which customer experience data is solicited and collected. It is impersonal and non-experiential.
Customer experience not only is a matter of sending clients periodic surveys to make sure nothing is going wrong. It also is a function of staying close to the customer to determine their future needs, even when these do not involve your products, services and platforms.
When your organization is guilty of post sale customer abandonment, how close can you stay to the customer when they can dismiss you by hitting the “Delete” button?
How well are you cultivating your customer, when sales and service teams only are alerted to negative customer experience ratings in a reactive manner?
If you are going to stay close to your customers, then do it proactively. Otherwise you are continuously fighting an uphill battle to recover what you potentially are losing.
End Users will tell you how it really is, if your non-sales folks understand how to ask them.
There is nothing which will derail future sales as quickly as post sale customer abandonment.
If you want to retain your current customers, at the very least teach your internal teams how keep their fingers on the pulse of the folks all the way from the production line to the C-Suite. End users will tell you, if not literally show you, the value of your training programs, add-ons, software, hardware and upgrades on their company’s experience and success.
In my Playbook, there is no excuse for post sale customer abandonment. At the very least, remain close to your internal teams, post sale. They are your most valuable customer retention assets. Make a goal of real-time collaboration, instead of impersonal contact via email, voicemail and surveys.
Why continue your habit of post sale customer abandonment when it can have such a negative impact on customer experience and customer success?
Instead, remain an active and proactive component in your own enlightened strategy for customer experience and customer retention. Focus on making customer experiences better and better. Your customers will thank you. So will your internal teams.
Babette Ten Haken is a writes, speaks and coaches about customer success for customer retention. She traverses the interface between human capital strategy for hiring and developing collaborative technical and non-technical teams. She serves manufacturing, IT and engineering intensive companies. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.