Many years ago I was consulting with a client in the financial services industry. This credit card provider would send out literally 2-4 million marketing pieces at a time with the hopes of getting a fraction – under 3% – to respond. The client would then initiate a sales process with that 1-3% and hope to close a certain percentage of those. While I was helping them on the operational aspect of one area charged with this process, I couldn’t help to be awed by the waste…and the fact that they were using generic marketing messages on existing customers.
A customer is not a prospect, but this client was treating them like one.
In the world that we prefer to work in today – that of customer service, the patient experience, season ticket holder retention, and account growth – you view retention and growth as 1-on-1. You view it as me (the employee) knowing you (the customer) so personally, so specifically that I know how you prefer that I communicate with you. I know whether you’re thinking of staying or leaving for a competitor. I know whether you’re likely to be a good candidate for cross-sell/upsell, and I know the best way to do that. I know whether it’s okay to ask for a referral. And when you form your opinion of my organization, I know what are those main opinion-drivers.
Being successful in the customer service, client experience, customer retention world requires that you never start thinking of a client as a prospect. Once you do that, you give up the competitive advantage of having a deeper, more personal relationship with that client.
Don’t turn your clients into prospects.
Did you like this post? Here are other Retention-related posts:
Here’s a quick article on using data analytics for client retention (Analytics Boost Customer Retention for Ohio Mutual). Although I like the article because of its obvious retention-focus, some of the key nuggets relate to the metrics that Ohio Mutual utilizes including:
- Retention/renewal rates (historically 87%)
- Profitability of the renewal business (15%-20% higher than the profitability of new customers)
- Identifying premium increase opportunities (upwards of $175 annually for some clients).
Does your organization have similar metrics? If not, just take a minute to think of how your strategies and decisions would be different if you knew retention rates, profitability of renewal v. new customers, and specific dollar increase opportunities with existing clients.
If you can’t afford a SAS solution, we’ve worked with many organizations on analyzing retention rates, at-risk profiling, retention and growth strategies, client exit interviews, etc. without using some high-end system. It’s not about the system. It’s about you, your customer, and the methodology to uncover retention opportunities and act on them.
Know your numbers to better target and achieve retention and growth with current customers.
For more information, check out: http://cssamerica.com/cssstrategy.htm
If you deal with a customer base of businesses, you have a very specific opportunity not enjoyed by those whose customers are consumers. We’re talking about getting your hands on their plans.
As an example of this, go to this BRE Sample Surveys/Reports page, and click on “Raymond Terrace.” This includes a PDF document that provides the results of a Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) survey conducted by an economic development organization in Australia. On Pages 16-18, there are questions of local businesses asked about the companies’ business plans, succession plans, and marketing plans. It’s important for BRE professionals to know if these plans exist because that can be an indicator of potential company success or impending change – key pieces of intelligence if you’re trying to retain and grow your local businesses.
But even more important than knowing that these plans exist is for these BRE professionals get their hands on those plans. What do the plans tell you about a company’s Vision, strategic goals, anticipated changes, potential supplier needs, facility constraints, and perceptions of how much their future involves your community?
Anybody wanting to save and grow relationships with their business clients needs to think long-term. A sales mentality is often focused short-term, on getting a transaction closed. A service and retention mentality is focused on keeping who you have over time. And one of the best ways to put that long-term mindset in place is to best understand your business client’s long-term plans.
Get your hands on the plans.
For more helpful BRE information, go to http://brebuzz.com/