Innovative customer retention should not be a rare occurrence. However, in many organizations, innovative is the last thing customers expect. Here’s why.
First of all, customers continuously re-evaluate why they do business with us. Whether we are aware of their evaluations, or not. Second, the majority of messages we send to them, intentionally or not, clearly communicates we are out of touch with their requirements. And third, our actions consistently fall short of customer expectations.
As a result, these three legacy scenarios scream for a more innovative customer retention strategy. Do these sound familiar?
Scenario 1: Customers do not hear from us until it is time to renew their contracts.
How our actions translate to the customer: “I am much too busy to stay in touch with you.” (Note: Do we reinforce customer skepticism about our dedication to them, when we immediately abandon them once the renewal contract is signed?)
What we can do innovatively: Increase frequency and quality of customer contact, even when no issues or projects are on the table.
What type of customer experiences do we create with our current actions?
Scenario 2: We send them a text message or post a comment on Facebook, crying: “I miss you.”
How our social media actions translate to the customer: “Yeah. Right. You miss my repeat business, not me.” (Note: Do we realize that our actions are not anywhere close to efficient, effective social selling?)
Consider what to do more innovatively: Well. Actually follow up!!!!! Make good on what we say we are feeling. Otherwise our words are hollow and meaningless. Have that cup of coffee with our clients if we actually miss them that much (or not)!
Are the customer experiences created by our current strategy reinforcing our customers’ decisions to continue to do business with us?
Scenario 3: Post-sale customer support teams update us about various customer issues, but we rush to first call the customer, asking: “Is everything ok?”
Our reactions translate to the customer as: “I have no clue what is going on, outside of my job function. Perhaps you can tell me?” (Note: Who is serving whom? Our lack of proactivity falls way short of service delivery quality in the customer’s eyes!)
What to do, innovatively: First, contact customer support teams. Clarify the context of the customer’s issues. Discover, together, the best options before we offer options to clients.
How can a collaborative customer retention strategy create more enduring – and endearing – customer experiences?
Executing a more innovative customer retention strategy starts by creating and leveraging small disruptions to legacy habits. Then, reinforcing these disruptions. Continuously.
The big, bombastic, earth-shattering stuff happens down the road. However, in the majority of legacy business scenarios, customers experience ad hoc execution of customer retention strategy. Which makes customers feel that, in fact, there is no over-arching customer retention strategy in place. The only constant is that employees often compensate for gaps in service quality delivery by their colleagues.
- What does your organization’s customer retention strategy “look like” to customers?
- How can you make the critical-to-service-quality-delivery improvements to increase overall customer experience and rate of customer retention?
- To learn more about creating, implementing and continuously executing an innovative customer retention strategy, contact me. Click on this link and set up a free appointment.
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Babette Ten Haken catalyzes organizations and associations, like yours, who want to leverage a more profitable workforce to retain the customers you work so hard to win. Her One Millimeter Mindset™ speaking and consulting programs leverage collaboration to catalyze professional innovation, workforce engagement and customer retention. She is a member of SME, ASQ, SHRM and the National Speakers Association. Babette’s Playbook of collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Her professional speaker profile appears on the espeakers platform.
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