“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little better” – Jeff Bezos, C.E.O of Amazon.
It used to be that simply taking care of the basics like taking the order, fulfilling the order, dispatching the order, and making sure it was delivered was a pretty solid strategy to make sure that you kept your customers happy. Then, a business that saw an opportunity to do a little better started calling you after receiving your order to make sure you received it and that you were happy with it.
Not long after that, someone else took it one step further and called you before your delivery even arrived to make sure that you were happy with what you ordered, and that should you experience any issues, you had a “dedicated customer service executive” that would take care of any incidents or queries you might have.
Now we have loyalty programs that are tiered from basic to “platinum” or “black cards,” concierge services as add ons to your credit cards, personal account managers, dedicated service consultants, VIP account managers…the list goes on. In the United States, 71% of companies spend up to 2% of their total revenue on loyalty programs, which by any other name is “client retention.” This amounts to, wait for it, US$323 billion every year, and that means that if you’re not doing something over and above your basic service offering to keep your customers happy – someone else will.
SO HOW ARE YOU, AS A SMALL OR MEDIUM-SIZED BUSINESS, SUPPOSED TO COMPETE WITH THAT?
It’s easier than you think. You might believe that you don’t stand a chance against the “big boys.” Still, there is a definitive move across the United States to support more locally owned businesses, especially in light of the pandemic.
The thing about the pandemic, though, is that it brought the reality of financial ruin out of the sphere of an event happening in some vacuum or some faraway place, right to our doorsteps. We have seen our friends and neighbors go bust or come very close, which has changed our emotional connections or how we consume.
All of this means that if you’re competing in that space, you’re already doing better than you think you are; what you might need – is a “quick-start” guide to get you into all of that lucrative new business and while we’re at it, part of keeping your customers, is taking care of them too.
And it starts by taking care of the business that you already have. There are eight great ways to improve your customer lifetime value, and you can learn about them here. They may seem more technical or “corporate” than what you might think your business needs, but the same principles that made Amazon great are keeping them great. Think about that.
Even for medium-sized businesses, you can benefit from corporate style retention to up your professionalism game; think Team Telemarketing, a team that solely focuses on retention and social media, complaints, and returns.
Don’t make your client retention some random function of your sales force; take it seriously because you have to remember, there’s $323 billion worth of revenue that’s prepared to do it for your customers, with…or without you.