The customer retention ownership conversation is not a matter of assigning this critical-to-sustainability activity to “someone” in your organization. You know. Out of sight. Out of mind. Until “something” happens. And it always does, doesn’t it?
So, just who, in your organization is responsible for customer retention ownership? Who actually owns the customer, pre-sale through post-sale? From customer infancy through maturity and end-of-life cycle?
First, in many organizations, customer retention ownership becomes a game of hot potato: handing off the customer as quickly as possible. Does this “process” sound familiar?
Employees continuously are surprised when things go wrong. Well, everyone except for the naysayers, who are the first folks to say: “I told you that solution wasn’t going to work.”
Then, everyone hunkers down into fire-fighting mode. Reacting to the immediate situation. Getting out the roll of company duct tape to fix what is broken and “resolve” the customer issue.
Finally, everyone breathes a sigh of relief. Ticks that issue off the To-Do list and returns to the comfort and complacency of waiting around for something else to break.
Alternatively, one or two employees decide to commit to customer retention ownership. They are self-appointed retention superheroes and heroines.
In a small, Industry40 custom fabricator and assembly business I am coaching, there is no real customer retention process. When things go wrong, whoever “discovers” the problem (usually the person answering the phone), handles it. For starters, no one wants to “discover” a problem, and then become responsible for it. As a result, the first order of business is to try to hand off the problem to someone else in the organization. Hot potato!
Next, when the customer issues are resolved, the employee shares their insights with: no one. End of incident. From the employee’s perspective, they are doing their job, even though customer service is not listed in their job description. In reality, they create these processes as they go along, ad hoc.
Consider the quality of customer experiences created by this non-collaborative customer ownership conundrum.
Consequently, imagine everyone’s surprise when we compared approaches to resolving customer issues on a one-by-one basis. Not only that. Customers are smart. When they find signs of intelligent life inside organizations, they repeatedly call that internal contact to resolve everything. Imagine everyone’s subsequent surprise when one employee superhero revealed how he proudly served, and made executive-level decisions, when handling customers. In his mind, he is a leader. In everyone else’s mind, he is becoming a liability.
Let’s just say that his unauthorized decision making, as well as lack of any customer service protocol, cost this organization dearly. You don’t know what you don’t know until you know what you don’t know. And then, you clean up the mess.
Ultimately, customer retention ownership is in the hands of clients.
Customers have the final say in whether, or not, they continue to do business with an organization. Thus, customer retention ownership always remains in the customer’s hands alone: they own themselves.
Does your organization make customer retention ownership a spectator sport or a game of hot potato? Would you like to learn how to turn things around so that you attract the types of customers you would rather be doing business with? Click on this link. Contact me. And let’s have that customer retention ownership conversation. Discover “What’s Next!”
Planning your next team, corporate or association meeting? Searching for a one-on-one catalyst to get you unstuck? Engage me to present a One Millimeter Mindset ™ program! Delivered virtually or in-person. Contact me here.
I am an extroverted STEM professional and left-brain thinker specializing in professional innovation, cross-functional leadership and client retention. I catalyze professionals to translate across communication and collaboration disconnects. Become more professionally visible, cross-functionally relevant and strategically valuable to your organizations. Better serve each other first so you better serve your clients together. One millimeter at a time. My One Millimeter Mindset™ virtual and in-person speaking programs leverage Voice of the Customer design methodology and storytelling to move individuals, teams, departments and organizations one millimeter beyond yesterday’s tools and today’s professional comfort zones My playbook of cross-functional collaboration, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Contact me here.
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