Why is it good to co-ordinate every part of your business when planning and implementing a client retention strategy?
Do any of the following phrases ring a bell….
- The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing!
- The message didn’t get through….
- The Sales team didn’t tell me….
- I’m sorry we’ve delivered a white one when you say you ordered a blue one…
- I’m sorry Sales told you someone would be in contact from Service…
- I’m sorry the contract doesn’t match your original quote…
Many of us will have heard or said some, or maybe all of these phrases in parts of our business and personal lives. What does it do to us when these things happen?
It frustrates us and subconsciously chips away at our confidence in the business and more importantly the Brand. Just when you are at the peak of your powers with the client, and just as they are waiting for some affirmation (from you) that they have made a great business decision to go with you as a supplier, you let them down. You go from a 9 out of 10, to a 7 out of 10. It is a slippery slope, and most importantly one you don’t need to be on!
A fair percentage of the goodwill you have spent time and money developing with the client will have been chipped away.
It makes us start thinking about alternatives available in the market place, and makes us ready targets for a marketing approach from one of our current supplier’s competitors.
However you look at it this erosion of goodwill, it will undoubtedly mean that the average life of your clients will be shorter. This equals less sales – and this means less profit.
These unfortunate occurrences fall into three camps:
1. Poor organisational communication and co-ordination, with the error being made as a result of ineffective internal systems. For example the terms of the order or agreement taken by the Sales team not being effectively communicated to the Operations team.
2. Poorly trained or de-motivated staff who could do something to help, but choose not to take responsibility, as a result the often anonymous client suffers. For example the person who is from the ABC team who tells you that your problem is actually an issue for the XYZ team and that they will transfer you to someone who you have to explain the issue to all over again.
3. Very often it is a combination of both these issues, for instance where weak internal systems lead to silo mentalities which then develop into vendettas, with one department going all out to sabotage the efforts of another. The biggest loser here is invariably the client.
Q. What does it need to resolve these situations?
A. Someone to take responsibility for the situation.
If it is a systems led issue, the leader of the business needs to get to grips with it and make appropriate adjustments. This could be anything from regular cross functional meetings or working groups; or even the implementation of a business management tool such as the Balanced Scorecard, that seeks to provide all parts of the business with an overall view and illustrate how the various functions are so inter dependent.
If it is a people led issue, then again this needs to be recognised by the leader, and steps taken to develop a new employee engagement strategy that encourages everyone to be a customer care specialist and to take responsibility from dealing with issues as they arise.
These are highly manageable issues which, with the right training and support, can be resolved for relatively little cost. Ultimately it is about putting appropriate systems in place and developing a real sense of pride amongst the workforce.
We all know that things sometimes go wrong. What we desperately want in these situations is to be dealing with someone from our chosen supplier who cares…..
If you have any comments on this article or would like to discuss any aspect of it please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0845 689 8750.
Image by: garryknight