“I’ve got some bad news: You could lose a customer today.” This is how a recent blog post by Neil Patel on IBM’s THINK Marketing site begins. And it is true. We all could lose a customer today – but rather than thinking of this as unavoidable, Patel argues, there is much to be done to drive customer retention.
The post reminded me of a discussion I had earlier in the week with a CEO who was complaining that this time of year his sales team was so maniacally focused on hitting end of year numbers through net new sales, that often they were not paying attention to the defensive game – customer retention. While all of our businesses need net new sales and clients in order to succeed, this cannot come at the expense of existing customers.
The blog post by Neil points to some very important reminders of the reasons you may lose a client, but it is important to also point out the simple things that you can do – in less than 8 hours — so this doesn’t happen to you.
2 Hour Rapid Product and Service Use Review: This is a very quick and simple way to know if your teams have their fingers on the pulse of your clients and your products. In a recent discussion with a CIO, he commented on a product that they’d purchased 7 months ago and still were not seeing value. Newsflash: that CIO is about to cancel the contract. Take 2 hours and figure out where you are exposed and deploy someone to ensure products and services are getting the level of use and value expected.
Pick up the Phone: Seriously people – in this digital age it is important to have a conversation – not a text or a Facebook Like or a WeChat. Pick up your phone and place the call. This is the time of year when quick phone calls matter. If you haven’t spoken to someone in the senior most levels of your engagements in the past 4 weeks, you can bet that your competitors have made that connection.
Make Team Changes: Too often, we hear a client repeating the same challenge or issue with their account or client teams over the course of a long period of time. If you know of an issue, make the change today. Don’t wait for the next call – unless you don’t mind losing that client.
As the year draws to a close, we celebrate the wins of the year and begin to look to the next. In celebrating your wins, make sure they include a clear view of the percentage of customers you retained and what percentage you grew, as well as a hard look at where and why you faced losses.