business retention and expansion

Challenges Create Opportunity, People Create Change - 4/20/21


There are so many great things that have been said over the years about overcoming challenges, pushing aside the roadblocks of life, dealing with difficulties.  And these are important points of discussion because challenges are all around us.  There are challenges with our personal health or in our personal Read more

The Passive Predicament - 4/13/21


The employee is speaking to you.  Do they have that look in the eyes like they’re hanging on your every word, like they’re processing, interpreting, and getting ready to quickly respond to your key points and questions?  Or do they have the look of somebody in the 2nd hour Read more

Regain Lost Motivation - 4/6/21


For many of us over the last 12 months, our home has also become our workplace.  Our work interaction has been 2-dimensional through the computer screen as opposed to the 3-dimensional experiences we’re used to with co-workers and customers. We are all motivated in our own unique ways.  Some are Read more

The Answer is Right, but the Service is Wrong - 3/30/21


Maggie was irate.  The gift she ordered needed to be received by the 20th of the month so she could give it to her cousin for his birthday.  It was the 19th, and Maggie couldn’t find any shipping update online, so she called the company.  The employee said “Oh!  Read more

Question Everything, but What’s the Question? - 3/23/21


The new leader joins the organization, and she decides she wants to question everything.  She wants employees to question everything.  Why have we always done it this way? Why do we continue to do it that way? Is this the best way to work? Sometimes it’s a great management Read more

The Resourceful Rep - 3/16/21


One of our clients is seeking to develop Customer Service Standards.  We’re working with them to identify those key expectations of staff that will enable the organization to deliver a consistent high-level customer experience.  One of the key attributes that this organization is seeking from its team members is Read more

Be Proactive like a Pro - 3/9/21


We constantly work with clients, encouraging them to become more proactive with customers.  Don’t just be reactive, waiting for the customer to ask questions or to complain.  Instead, go to the customer, anticipate their needs, suggest something to them. But many of us, frankly, don’t know how to be proactive.  Read more

Find One Unique Thing - 3/2/21


Many of us are not in a position to develop long-term relationships with our customers.  Our encounters are often one-time only with a customer - very brief and likely to be our only time chatting with this individual. And even though there may not be a long-term professional relationship developed, Read more

Should I Stay or Should I Go? - 2/23/21


Should I stay or should I go?  That’s not just a classic song by The Clash.  It’s also the question customers ask more and more, especially during difficult economic times. A recent study in the Charlotte Business Journal noted that 50% of North Carolina businesses are concerned with how to Read more

Optimism – A Force for Good in Customer Service - 2/16/21


Will 2021 be a better year than 2020?  I have absolutely no idea.  Maybe it would be nice to see into the future and know for certain, but I can’t and I don’t.  But as I wade further and further into this year, I can hope that the water Read more

Determine Who is Retainable

Posted on in Business Advice, Government, Sports Please leave a comment

I was reading this article on How to Project Customer Retention for a Subscription Business, and it reminded me of a project we worked on about 10-12 years ago for a local Chamber of Commerce.

Essentially, the Chamber was disappointed in their retention rate, and they wanted to improve it, and they had very aggressive goals. So aggressive were the goals that we started questioning whether the goals were based in reality or whether they were the proverbial BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) that some executive pulled from thin air. The goal was a BHAG, and once that was determined, we proceeded to get the client focused on what percentage of members are truly retainable.

We’ve used this same approach in helping pro sports teams target a renewal rate, and we created a Retainable Rating system for helping Economic Development organizations prioritize their Touch Point Plans through their Business Retention & Expansion programs. In other words, understanding what percentage of customers/members/businesses are NOT retainable as well as who is more retainable than others helps in prioritization of retention efforts. It helps in work allocation. It helps in goal-setting.

There are 3 core ways to determine retainability (which are best used in conjunction with each other):

– Conduct research with existing customers/members/businesses and ask retention-focused questions.

– Review history in your own databases, comparing characteristics of past customers/members/businesses lost v. those retained and applying that data to existing clients.

– Talk to the employees and account representatives who best know those customers/members/businesses.

Add some realism to your retention goals. Add some prioritization and focus to your strategies. Add some reasonableness to what you expect of staff in managing relationships and retaining business.

Determine who is retainable.

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at: http://www.cssamerica.com/


Linked at the Hip – Business Retention and Long-term Thinking

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

If you care about winning a battle, focus on today. If you care about winning the war, think beyond tomorrow.

In far too many businesses, companies focus too much on today’s battles. They get so immersed in making this one sale, in closing this one transaction, in getting through these operational steps, that they find themselves with the same one sale, one transaction, and one step-orientation the next day.

So what’s the problem with that? The problem is that caring almost exclusively about today doesn’t help you to plan for tomorrow, to think strategically, to think long-term, and to succeed long-term. It doesn’t help you to research, study, and anticipate what you customers will do, how the environment will change, and what your competitors will do.

This conundrum is no different in the world of economic development. Too many communities are too focused on new business acquisition and don’t invest enough resources or planning on how to retain and grow the companies already located in their jurisdiction. This is where effective Business Retention & Expansion programs come into play.

Communities that care about the long-term, realize it’s not all about the hunt, the new business, the relocation. It’s about keeping what you have and growing them. It’s about having strategies to ward off other jurisdictions recruiting their businesses. It’s about becoming as vital to the businesses as the businesses are to the community.

Mooresville, NC economic development groups created ‘Moving Mooresville Forward 2017’. According to a recent article, the strategy has 5 key initiatives:

  • Business retention/expansion/acquisition
  • Creating an environment for small business growth
  • Workforce development
  • Transportation planning
  • Creating a business environment and quality of life that fosters individuals’ and businesses’ desire to stay.

Note how these initiatives are focused mostly on what you currently have – your businesses, your environment, your employees, your infrastructure, your quality of life. Mooresville realizes that it must create an environment that fosters retention and expansion, and that same environment would be of interest to companies seeking relocation options from elsewhere to Mooresville.

When you want to succeed for the long-term, plan how to enhance, retain, and grow what you have instead just focusing on today’s sale, today’s transaction, and today’s task.

Check out our BRE News Research Services: http://cssamerica.com/cssbrenews.htm

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Mind (and Mine) Your Own Business

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

When an Iowa City economic development group won an award for how it takes care of its current customers (i.e., local businesses), it noted that its Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) program’s name is “Minding Our Own Businesses” – great name!

In the article ICAD recognized for business retention and expansion efforts, the BRE program noted how it targets about 90 businesses per year, but the interesting point is that “65 to 70 of [the businesses] consistently provide data for its annual existing industry report.” That means that about 70-80% of local companies are providing information/intelligence that will help Iowa City to best retain them and grow with them. That’s a significant level of involvement from what are essentially the City’s customers.

So think about your BRE business or your company’s customers. If you target certain customers for retention, don’t just view them as a group you should “Mind” (i.e., take care of and build relationships with), but also look at them as customers from whom you should “Mine” data. Customers are your greatest suppliers of the information you need to retain and sell to them, so developing relationships, targeting what information to obtain, and having simple but effective methods of gathering intelligence (either through surveys or even more passive means) are all vital to retention.

Don’t just view retention and growth efforts as initiatives that involve providing great one-on-one customer service. While that’s a part of it, realize that having an intelligence-building research strategy is vital to any retention and growth strategy.

Mine your own businesses.

Check out our BRE Survey Approach: http://cssamerica.com/cssbresurvey.htm

See what CSS can do to build your existing industry intelligence through BRE News Research: http://cssamerica.com/cssbrenews.htm