Really? What are you crying about?
After all, as a sales person, sales engineer or sales operations professional, you think you are doing a superlative job. Just by being busy being busy doing that job.
The assumptions you make about the quality of how well you serve your customers, and each other, are your customer unretention Achilles heels.
Not only am I telling you. Also, I’m showing you what not to do.
Each customer unretention syndrome and sales Achilles Heel, below, tells a story with a message for you to put into play, today. If you want to know what to do, my advice is simple. Do not recreate, or perpetuate, any of these customer unretention stories. (And bonus! This post is full of links to related articles and Tools and Tips, so help yourselves.)
There are four sales Achilles Heels which, in my experience, are sure-fire examples of how “just doing your job” leads to customer unretention syndrome. Recognize any of these scenarios?
Customer Unretention Achilles Heel 1. You attempt to upsell, retain and renew customers within one month prior to contract expiration.
For starters, customers never see you until you have something to sell or demo. Or you have a renewal contract for them to sign off on. Then the purpose of your sales call is all about you. As a result, you find out there is a problem when the customer does not accept the request for an appointment. Not only that, you are shocked when they fail to execute the signed contract by the service expiration date. Finally, you attempt to win back the customer with price reductions and freebies, to make up for your sales myopia. However, your efforts do not impress your now-former customer. Ouch!
Customer Unretention Achilles Heel 2. You fulfill your job responsibilities in a departmental, functional silo.
You are busy selling, demo-ing, serving, data-gathering, invoicing and operating. Internal colleagues also work within their own departmental silos. Like you, they assume that “no news is good news.” Subsequently, everyone is completely absorbed fulfilling tactical activities within the comfort of respective professional bubbles. As a result, tactical activities become transactional: they are prescriptive, step-by-step, how-to-your-job recipes. As a result, any high-level strategy is lost as you strive to meet the quarterly KPIs of your specific job function. Does anyone understand anymore where, how and why you fit into the big picture?
Customer Unretention Achilles Heel 3. You over-estimate the quality of output associated with everyone “just doing their job within departmental silos.”
Hey there! Who is connecting the dots between the quality of hand-offs between one functional area of input-throughput- output to the next? When everyone who supports the customer, pre-, post- and during the sale, is off being busy within the comfort of functional silos, there is no strategic continuity. Everyone develops order-taker mindset, working individually, instead of collaboratively. As a result, when execution and implementation of strategy results in incomplete tasks, missing information, poor output quality and inefficiency, who is to know? (Hint: The customer already knows.)
Customer Unretention Achilles Heel 4. You are guilty of post-sale customer abandonment.
Post-sale customer abandonment is a customer experience killer. Add up the sum total of Customer Unretention Achilles Heels 1-3. First, the post-sale customer journey is passed off to everyone in an organization who was not part of the initial customer acquisition process. In addition, because everyone operates in departmental silos, customer frustration festers. Also, lack of administrative, design, implementation, delivery and accounting continuity makes matters worse. Then the client calls you and all you can do is react due to ignorance. Finally, clients decide not to pay outstanding invoices until issues are resolved. That trigger prompts you to start an internal customer witch hunt. Not only are external customers upset with you. Pretty soon, so are internal customers. Not a pretty picture.
Isn’t it time that you liberated yourself from customer unretention syndrome? Why have high drama at the end of each sales quarter. Isn’t it time to take a fresh approach?
If so, then take the next steps.
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Babette Ten Haken is a catalyst, corporate strategist and facilitator. She writes, speaks, consults and coaches about how cross-functional team collaboration revolutionizes the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) value chain for customer loyalty, customer success and customer retention. Her One Millimeter Mindset™ programs draw from her background as a scientist, sales professional, enterprise-level facilitator, Six Sigma Green Belt and certified DFSS Voice of the Customer practitioner. 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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