Do you have confused customers? You just may be creating customer instability instead of executing a rock-solid customer retention strategy. Let’s explore.
Take a walk around your organization, regardless of whether you are a solopreneur with subcontractors, a SMB or a large enterprise. What does the internal landscape look like, in terms of consistent delivery of products, services and post-sale support? Are you teeing customers up for success, or not?
Three areas are critical to creating consistent, holistic, delivery of customer success for customer retention:
- Marketing and Sales Strategies
- Quality of Output
- Employee Churn
In order to retain those hard-won customers, all three of these areas of your business need to work collaboratively, on behalf of the customer. It is not an either-or choice. If your organization is strong in one area, but weak in the others, customer success is compromised. So is the probability of customer retention.
If you are continuously in tactical firefighting mode, fixing what is broken in delivery of products and services, look no further than these three areas. Stop fighting tactical fires; instead take a strategic and holistic perspective.
Marketing and Sales Chaos creates Confused Customers
When your marketing and sales strategies – and people – are all over the place, your customers receive mixed messages. For starters, this inconsistency is not a strategy at all: it’s a tactic and a short-lived one, at that. Your organizational positioning seems to shift with every customer touch. Not only that. Your sales people always seem to be selling the flavor of the month offering. Considering the length of the buyer decision-making cycle, can you afford to be confusing buyers with marketing and sales chaos?
Think about it. If customers cannot count on you to be invested in delivering on a solid value proposition, how confident are they going to be to invest in your solutions?
Inconsistent Quality of Output creates Confused Customers
Also, do you offer clients consistently high-quality solutions? Once again, when the quality of client outcomes is all over the place, how confident are they going to be in awarding you more business? Instead, clients become confused customers. They start to wonder just what is going on at your shop. And that is a subject your customers never should be worrying about.
Again, think about it. When clients do not have confidence in your core operations capabilities, they won’t stick around for long. Otherwise, their own business becomes compromised as a result of working with yours.
Employee Musical Chairs creates Confused Customers
Then again, there seems to be a continuously changing set of employees serving the customer, both pre- and post-sale. Raising the specter of inconsistent support of solutions is a recipe for not only confused customers. Once again, clients start wondering just what is happening at your company to create continuous employee churn. Then again, they do not wonder for long. Instead, clients come to the conclusion that if your company cannot retain its own employees, how invested are you in retaining your customers?
So, think about it. Are your people-processes-systems confusing your customers?
Ultimately, the one-two-three combination of people-processes-systems impacts customer experience.
How your people serve your customers, both pre- and post-sale, makes a big impression on customer expectations of better and better experiences in working with your organization. Why fail them?
My advice: start looking at your business as a continuum, rather than a set of individual departments with specific, unrelated, responsibilities. When you lead by connecting the dots, your people will, in turn, connect the dots.
Customers who experience a strong, integrated working relationship with their vendors are not confused customers. On the other hand, they look forward to a long-term, successful relationship.
Ready to take the next steps towards customer retention?
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Babette Ten Haken, Founder & President of One Millimeter Mindset™ serves organizations as a corporate catalyst and innovative speaker, strategist, coach and storyteller. Babette’s One Millimeter Mindset™ Workshops and Speaking programs leverage collaboration to catalyze professional innovation, workforce engagement and customer retention, especially in challenging Industrial Internet of Things environments. Babette’s playbook of IIoT team collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. She is a member of SME, ASQ, SHRM and the National Speakers Association.
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