Retaining connected customers showcases how products and services translate into value for the customer. How does doing business with you make your clients’ organizations better and better, over time?
There’s nothing transactional in that strategy. It takes time to create, capture and measure value.
To retain today’s digitally connected customers, sell a well-crafted customer retention strategy. There is little value in a hit-and-run transactional experience with your company’s products and services.
Let’s say you:
- Broker mortgages. When does that mortgage become valuable to clients?
- Sell consulting services. How do your services create value for customers?
- Sell products. What makes those products valuable to your customers?
Let’s take a look at how digitally connected enterprises, processes and information are changing how we win and retain customers.
Digitally connected customers are smarter before they even consider, engage and retain our services.
Today’s customers are increasingly connected to each other. They do their homework about industry information regarding your organization, product information and even you.
When retaining connected customers, consider they are “prospecting” you just as much as you are prospecting them. If you are selling high-value products and services, do you really think new customers get your name off a leads list? (Like you do?)
Consider changing up your new customer acquisition process. Become smarter and more insightful about your customers first. What makes you exquisitely well-suited to serve that customer?
To execute a sales strategy based on retaining connected customers, determine whether they are worthwhile acquiring as well as retaining. They are doing the same type of research about you.
Customer retention within the digital business ecosystem changes how we work.
Many of us work virtually. Inadvertently we end up working alone.
Are you unintentionally isolating yourself from communicating with all of your value-creating resources? Do you even know who these folks are?
While working in sweats with a cup of coffee is a pretty sweet setup, it also creates problems. Be diligent and disciplined. Remain thoroughly and consistently connected not only to your customers, but all the folks who help you conduct and retain business.
Retaining connected customers is a team sport, not a solo act.
Focusing on retaining connected customers changes how our businesses are modeled.
Today’s digitally enhanced businesses models are the result of a mix of people interacting with business processes fueled by big data insights. Most importantly, the input-throughput-output of these business models are increasingly customer-centric rather than self-serving.
Should your businesses remain single-site or even bricks and mortar? When does it become important for business partners to work with you full-time? Also, what are the benefits of retaining a consortium of partners who are brought into the equation on a project-related basis?
Finally, how will you maintain seamlessly integrated partner relationships within your business model and customer retention strategy?
Retaining connected customers in the digital business ecosystem changes whom, how and why we hire.
Speaking about your customer retention team, are you (or is your company) hiring warm-bodies? Alternatively, have you helped management identify and retain individuals best able to work with you and each other on behalf of your customers?
Perhaps you work with virtual assistants and outsourced service departments. These folks may be cost-effective moves for the enterprise. However, is the quality of interactions with these departments helping or hindering your customer retention strategy?
Does your customer retention team come across as seamlessly integrated when executing strategy? Or are they awkward, detached and uninterested?
Most importantly, retaining connected customers in the digital business ecosystem creates a connected value equation.
To continuously create and sustain value for your clients, integrate your people, processes and information.
Use data and analytics to support your strategy for your customers’ growth, expansion and sustainability. If you are a data-reluctant person, work with your support team to locate, demystify and translate information relevant to sustaining your client relationships.
Instead of trying to be all things to all customers, become a go-to resource for information and knowledge. Showcase your collective thought leadership, and value, by strategically communicating with customers – even when you have nothing to sell to them.
Continuously showcase the transparency and accessibility of your entire team, information and processes during the initial sale and throughout your relationship with customers.
Retaining connected customers is an art form. It’s all about becoming – and remaining – proactive and anticipatory about “What’s Next?” for your customer base.
Babette Ten Haken is the Founder and President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC. She has one of the most distinctive voices in today’s workforce, professional development and customer success communities. She traverses the interface between tech workforce hiring strategy and developing collaborative technical and business teams focused on customer success and customer retention. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Visit the Free Resources section of her website for more tools.
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