- If you are inconsistent and half-hearted when working with customers, then you lose credibility in their eyes. Do not expect to retain their business due to lack of professionalism.
- Then, there are huge failures in manufacturing execution or post-sale service delivery quality that derail any chances for customer retention.
- Finally, periodic execution of customer retention strategy can lack substance, relevance and value in the eyes of your customers. Even though your organization (and you) thinks they are doing a great job.
Let’s explore that third scenario in today’s post, shall we?
Keeping in Touch courtesy calls are a sign and symptom of a sporadic customer retention strategy.
The most common form of sporadic customer retention strategy is when you re-contact customers on a scheduled basis. I know. How can this process be sporadic, if it is scheduled for periodic intervals in your client relationship management platform?
It just could be that the only person keeping track of scheduled messaging is you.
Your stated purpose for the email or call is: “Just keeping in touch to make sure you are happy / satisfied / understand how to operate X.”
If your efforts lack value, customers are not going to keep score and keep track of whether these emails and phone calls are regularly scheduled or not.
It all comes across as plain vanilla verbiage.
In my Playbook, periodically scheduled customer contact is all about substance to fuel customer retention.
Asking for a customer’s time and attention is valuable. Are you squandering each “keeping in touch” opportunity because messaging is meaningless?
- First of all, you sound like every other seller, engineer, reseller who is “following up” as a form of post-sale or post-implementation courtesy.
- In addition, these messages are sent out to decision makers and managers, which may not be appropriate or yield relevant insights for your organization.
- Also, customers do not value self-serving, post-sale “courtesy” calls. Why? Chances are, these points of contact serve your own organization’s metrics, not their organization’s operational KPIs.
Instead, consider that clients expect post-sale conversations, content, events, upgrades, updates and service that make them better and better. Are you under-delivering on their expectations?
In spite of your best, periodically scheduled efforts, you gradually become a commodity in the eyes of customers.
Periodic customer experience (CX) surveys are a sign and symptom of a sporadic customer retention strategy.
Finally, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. They do not have time for this nonsense. What type of customer experience do you think you provide them?
There are some excellent customer experience organizations out there. However, not only are they not inexpensive, also implementation requires a more holistic cultural buy-in from your organization.
In addition, even if your organization commits to a first-class CX program, again, it takes more than periodically scheduled surveys to retain customers. Also, keep in mind that customers buy from you because they expect better and better customer experience over their lifecycle of their relationship with your organization.
Bottom line: Clients do not make a purchase because they can’t wait to call your customer service department with a problem or schedule a technical field service call.
Then again, consider the format for the CX survey. It represents your brand in the eyes of your customers.
Yes. That survey represents your organization’s brand! Does the survey read like the standard hotel, airlines and entertainment surveys clients are “used” to receiving? This format works well if your organization falls into those industry verticals.
However, if you are an industrial Internet of Things supplier, that type of survey format can backfire. It just may come across as a commodity effort in the eyes of your clients.
Finally, if the only purpose of CX surveys is to justify a self-serving, internal bonus compensation program, well, do I even need to complete that sentence? C’mon. You are better than that.
Continuously assess your customer retention efforts from your customers’ perspective.
Most of us make a solid attempt to keep our fingers on the pulse of our customer base. However, be honest with yourself. It is easy to get busy and distracted by monumental technical projects and quarterly quotas.
When these distractions become the daily norm, consistency of execution of customer retention strategy suffers. Customer retention process and discipline are lost. Sporadic customer retention strategy rapidly takes its place.
The last thing you want to happen is to receive one of “those calls” from a customer who felt you let them down. Because, in their eyes, you dropped off the face of the earth. You and I know you were legitimately busy. But your situation does not matter to your clients.
In my Playbook, make customer retention part of your customer acquisition strategy. Create a process, discipline and mindset to continuously capture the customer’s voice.
Executing that type of strategy results in your becoming a go-to resource for customers, instead of a commodity. Your choice.
Babette Ten Haken writes, speaks, consults and coaches about collaborative value creation for customer success and customer retention. She connects the dots between strategy and execution. She works across leadership, human capital / HR and technical/IT/engineering teams within the industrial Internet of Things ecosystem. Her focus? Creating enduring business outcomes. 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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