Recently, I have encountered a slew of companies that are experiencing an extremely negative situation. Put in its most simple terms, they are experiencing client CHURN. One client is won, another is lost and they never seem to get ahead of themselves in terms of client profitability and retention.
With the acceptance that it is approximately five times more expensive to bring in a new client as it is to retain and grow an existing one, it is mind-blowing to think that more companies aren’t taking active measures to ensure client retention and growth.
Here are some things you must consider (aka, must do) if you want to eliminate churn in your business:
Provide exquisite service. It seems simple doesn’t it but here’s the thing. I don’t mean GOOD service; I mean EXQUISITE service, the kind that helps you to turn your customers into raving fans and to get them proactively talking about your business and referring you as often as possible.
Anticipate wants and needs. Wayne Gretzky (com’n even if you’re not a hockey fan you know who Wayne Gretzky is, don’t you?) was so great because he not only saw where the puck was, he anticipated where it was going. That’s exactly the type of thinking business owners need to have. We need to be one (or two) steps ahead of our clients in anticipating what they are going to want us to do. If we can anticipate their desires and provide them BEFORE they have to ask, you are sure to develop those raving fans I just mentioned.
Ask questions. This is truly sales 101 but it boggles my mind when a company doesn’t keep their finger on the pulse of their clients. Ask questions when engaged in a sales situation. Do surveys, voice of customer research and everything that you need to do to truly get into the DNA of your client base.
Don’t forget to cross-tell. Many companies believe that the majority of their customers know 100% of everything that they provide. (The thinking is that once upon a time the customer was informed about all of the products and services; the disconnect is thinking that they actually remember all of this information over time. You’ll retain more of your clients and experience greater client profitability if they are utilizing more of your products or services.
Spend an equal amount of time talking to existing clients as you do in new prospecting endeavors. Don’t forget about the small to mid-size clients. Ask yourself if you are doing a minimal amount of work with them because they just don’t have any additional work to give you or is it because they are giving the larger percentage of their business to one of your competitors. Could you be leaving business on the table?