Account Growth & Client Retention are critical for Business Survival
You already spend a great deal of money on getting new customers, can you afford to lose them?
Worse can you afford to let them languish as poor accounts that no longer grow?
Whether your business is B2B or B2C, there is nothing more important than your customer service
Old School Customer Service
Traditionally it has been the work of account managers, inside sales and customer service to ensure that customers were happy and growing in their use of your services and products.
In addition, this has been done primarily with a combination of in-person meetings, phone calls, and emails
Up until a few years ago, this was still working well for most companies and their customers
Recently client retention rates have deteriorated for many companies relying on these traditional communication channels
Account growth, that is, the growth of revenue from individual accounts has also been difficult to manage and for many has shrunk using only traditional methods.
So, what’s going on?
Courtesy of Simon Kemp / Kepios / HTTPS:DATAREPORTAL.COM
Things have changed!
Customer service today is no longer the same as traditional old school customer service
Yes, technology has created a new digital world where practically everything we do as customers or for customers can now be done online
But it’s really been our new reality of social distancing, working from home with no face to face meetings that has suddenly forced us to find our customers!!
What does this mean?
Customers now research anything and everything online, often verbally using google voice rather than typing into search engines
Customers are much more likely to answer a text, a direct message or video call than they are any other form of communication
So… "This is now how it is and how it’s going to be in our new post-pandemic world "
Keeping in touch with customers is now more important than ever as they too are going through enormous changes which in turn, changes their needs.
So how do you stay in touch with them and provide real-time customer service?
The answer is best explained by asking this question while offering the following example.
When you need to reach one of your friends fast,
how do you quickly do this?
For most people (certainly not all) this is the order of preference
You will note, email was not included on this list.
How quickly would your friends see an email? This is not to say they would not respond but how quickly, is the real question?
This is certainly not a complete list and different geographies can change this dramatically, BUT generally, people do not try to reach out quickly to their friends by email.
In fact, email for this use did not crack the top ten
Now, let’s think about what we have all been told for literally decades when working with customers
Customer service, sales and business development are all about …. “Relationships”
You simply do not build relationships through emails and yet this is how most sales and customer service is still conducted today!!
OK, the point is hopefully made.
Now, how do you reach or rather how should you reach your customers, the ones we have, and or we are developing relationships with?
And I would add: (where applicable)
You get the picture
All communication moves to online in real-time
Reach out to your customers and connect with them!
The trick is to find out what your customers prefer...here’s a really important hint, it could be any or all of these platforms!!
So just learning or using one or two of these tools will not suffice for all or even most
You need to be on and proficient, in all that are representative of your customers and what they use (this is where your customer profiles come in)
So as someone whose responsibility it is to maintain, nurture, and grow customer accounts this is what you need to know
Reach out to your customers and connect with them on Facebook NOW, not tomorrow
or when it seems like a good time...NOW
Do the same on Instagram and or any of the other applicable apps that your customers may use
Here’s another key tip. (Really more of a must-do!)
The moment you meet or talk to a customer the first time ask to friend them on Facebook
If they do not use Facebook ask what channel would be best for them
If they ask why, and many will, simply let them know this is the quickest and most responsive way for you
to make sure whatever they need in the future is done immediately so they do not have to wait
For 90+% of our customers, this answer is effective every time
After all, people want to know that you take their needs seriously
This is the beginning of a “Real & Trusting Relationship” with your customers!
How to get immediate benefits?
Repeat this exercise across all of your customer lists using the social platform that best suits your customers
For example if your business is mostly or all B2B, than LinkedIn may be one of the networks to connect with as well
But...remember the behavior in terms of communication on LinkedIn is not the same as Facebook messenger and in fact messenger is a much better and more effective way to communicate with most customers
This is why you do not see LinkedIn on this list for customer communication
Twitter can be another very useful option to consider for some of your customers and is also an excellent channel for ongoing social selling for new customers.
However, this will be a much lower percentage of your customers for the purposes of communication and customer service
The key benefits of communicating directly with customers in this fashion are:
For existing customers reach out and ask what channels they may prefer to be contacted through in order to stay in real-time contact. Then immediately friend them via corporate and or personal profiles as appropriate.
Track and build out tracking for this social communication as you would any other. This will require a CRM or social advocacy platform that allows you to do so.
Tracking and measuring this activity is no less important than it was with emails and phone calls only now it’s in real-time and much more impactful to your ongoing client retention and account growth.
For new or prospective customers upon the first contact inquire directly as to which channels they prefer to communicate through. Begin to follow up immediately in this way so as to establish an effective and productive relationship.
We know that most people are very willing to test new ideas and concepts but are less willing to drastically change all of their current processes without first seeing results for themselves.
So here are some immediate steps you can take to test the effectiveness of online customer service. The key results to look for are improved account growth through sales and client retention
If you are not tracking these metrics, start now!
1) Pick a couple of your inside sales or customer service team members
2) Arrange to have them trained to work online effectively with the platforms and tools relevant to your customer profiles.
5) Once you begin seeing the results, begin planning how you can replace the current process with this new online customer service program
Let’s Get Started!
Rick Rea &
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