What is the most ignored and overlooked threat every company faces? Answer: The lack of a well thought out and implemented customer experience strategy resulting in – depending on your industry of course – a 20 to 70% customer loss in the first 100 days.
Notice how I said customer experience and not customer service.
Think about it. Customer service is reactive – you delivering on your promises, solving daily problems, responding to complaints and so much more. Customer experience on the other hand is proactive. It is strategic – a focused intention on how you want a customer to feel in every step of the journey. It more involves how you personalize every communication from day one to day 100 and beyond. How you create a more personal, connective, caring, deeper, more meaningful experience.
Now, while most business owners/leaders strive to and believe they provide excellent service, what most companies are rather terrible at is in providing a beautiful, memorable (and systemized for scale) customer experience.
As I have espoused in a previous newsletter article, “the strength of any business is NOT in the new sales it generates but in the referrals and repeat business it gets.” We all focus so much on new business, new clients, new sales that we forget to humanize the journey and develop a strategic “experience” for every customer or client… so that they NEVER leave!
Why is this so important? Here’s why… it is 6 to 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than keep a current one yet, still, to this day, only 8% of customers feel their service providers deliver a “superior” level of customer service.
What the majority of your customers are really saying is this… they want an extraordinary experience! The service (reactionary) part was promised and is expected. So then, what can you quickly do to address this threat? Here are my…
10 Easy Things You Can Do To Keep Your Customers and Scale Your Referrals
- Create And Design A Step by Step Emotional Journey For Your Customers (from day 1 to day 100 and beyond). That’s every communication, every interaction, every touch point and warm, thoughtful act.
- Grow Your Clients Businesses Imagine if you required all your salespeople to facilitate 5 introductions a week to good referral source for each client they landed. Read my previous article, Here’s An Effective, Universal Sales Strategy You Likely Have Never Considered
- Make It Your Mission To Find Out What Your Clients Really Really Care About. Teach your people to ask this simple question… “besides your family, friends and job/work, what do you really really care about.” This not only creates a more personal and authentic conversation but it also give you vital information about the person in which you can later act upon and do something about.
- Every Month, Ask Your Client How You Can Be Better. Then get better, give better, serve better and be better. Keep delivering better and keep checking in to ask them how you are improving or not.
- (Consistent) Thoughtful Gestures. Let your clients know how much you appreciate a particular something about them. Give genuine compliments. Send a thoughtful gift however small that you know will make them feel special and that you listened in step 3 above.
- Through Your Actions, Not Just Your Words, Let Your Clients See How Much You Really Care. Invite them to your charity event. Ask them who they know who needs help or assistance of any kind – a colleague, a loved one, etc.
- Be Vulnerable! Share your story, your journey, your failures and lessons learned. Let them see who truly you are not just as a professional but as a son, mother, father, sister, brother, friend, colleague.
- See A Mistake As An Opportunity! We all make mistakes. Stop hiding them and share them along with the solutions for their amelioration – be open and honest. While your client may initially feel annoyed or upset. Over the long term, they will trust you to always share the real truth of what is going on in serving their needs and concerns.
- Pass The Buck Properly! Imagine dating someone for a long while and just when you are getting married someone else walks down the aisle. This is what most companies do once the salesperson hands off a new client. This is an opportunity for your salesperson to do two very important things… a). share with the soon to be client what the journey will be like every step of the way – who they will be working with, how things will progress, timing, team, how you expect to make them feel, etc. Here you can creatively share personal, fun and serious profiles of those people, maybe even customized videos of your people introducing themselves, sharing their stories, why they care so much and how they are going to help them. b). Have your salespeople share everything they learned about the customer in the process of landing them (personal and professional) with the team that will be servicing them.
- Ask Your Clients What Their Personal and Professional Goals Are! Share yours. Ask question after question in what they are doing to achieving them and more importantly, how you can help and participate. Show genuine interest and do what you can to help them!
While I consider these things to be “easy”, I do readily recognize that they are easy for me. Many of the ideas proposed in my top 10 can be entire subjects and lessons to themselves. If they are not easy for you to build into your organization, get help but DO THEM (I of course am happy to be that person) however, if there is someone you know and feel comfortable with… call them!. If you do, I promise you… you will keep more of your customers, generate more referrals and greatly reduce the need to keep looking for new sales to sustain and grow your company.
Andrew Kolikoff is a referral and customer retention innovator, leadership development and culture coach, public speaker, author and principal at Aurelius – designing and delivering remarkable customer experiences for companies that REALLY care.
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Have a question about sales, customer retention, referral generation, customer experience, leadership, culture? Ask Andrew for some deeper perspective and very likely, get some better answers. (Just ask in the comment section below this article.)