3 signs your customer may leave.Justin Grey, a contributor to Forbes’ Young Entrepreneur Council, sites three behaviors to watch if you are concerned about losing a client: silence, acquisition, and turnover.
- Silence. If you haven’t heard from a client in a while, it’s not a good sign. But, it’s also probably your fault. Communication is your job.
- Acquisition. If a business acquired your customer’s business, they may bring their own favorite vendors with them.
- Turnover. Perhaps your contact at the client company takes a job with another company. If you lose the company because the contact moves, you have let something go wrong.
Remember: Silence is not a sign of satisfaction; it is a sign of disconnect.Given these standard customer behaviors, the Customer Success Manager must address each of them.
- Silence: You don’t meet silence with silence. You anticipate it and co-opt it with scheduled but meaningful contacts.
- Acquisition: Among your many tasks, you should know what’s going on in your customer’s business world. You want to know about acquisitions before they do, so you can offer deals that will survive the transition.
- Turnover: With a strong relationship, you can follow the customer to his/her new position. But, if you have developed other contacts and know the remaining staff, you have the information to rescue that account.
A customer relationship is a bit like a romance.When a client shows signs of wanting to leave, you don’t have to convince them to stay. It’s just like dating! For example, I had a client who was with us for seven years. Suddenly, she decided to quit because a competitor whispered, “sweet nothings in her ear.” It turned out that the competitor’s promises did not pan out, and four months later she came back to us, to me, and I quote, “what would it take to come back to your amazing company?” If they move, it’s probably for one of 2 reasons:
- Maybe they just need a wakeup call. You’ll want to leave the door open if you expect them to come back.
- Maybe you need a wakeup call. If they leave because of your silence, inattention, or poor support, you have a problem.
Sometimes, you should just kiss off a customer.Chronically unhappy customers drain your energy and the company’s resources, and there is little you can do to fix their problems. Their level of discontent really has nothing to do with you or your service. You are, unfortunately, a convenient outlet for their chronic dissatisfaction. Of course, there are customers who will push for better prices, looser payment plans, and faster delivery. You can deal with those, but there is no dealing with perpetually unhappy people. But, once you take the high road and exhaust reasonable efforts to satisfy the customer, it just makes sense to help them move to a competitor where they might be happier. Your successful Customer Success Management may lie in knowing when it’s time to “cut bait and run.”
Tip: One way to measure the impact of chronically unhappy clients is to log the time you spend on calls, emails, and customer service contacts.As a Customer Service Manager, you must serve and satisfy customers. But, you must do this within your business’ profit margin goals. But, any Pareto analysis would say 20% of your customers will cause problems. If you and your team are good at your business, you can reduce or turn half of these people around. Still, when customer service reliably drains your organization’s time, energy, and principles, it is in the company’s best interest to move on.
Remember: if you love a client, set them free. If they come back, they’re likely to stay forever!Keeping the “professional” in Customer Success Manager – Every customer has a shelf-life, a value partly based on the cost to please and retain. Customers move in and out with a dynamic. It’s predictable to the extent that you assess and record customer performance as well as your own. And, it’s only unpredictable if you don’t have an effective response. So, with enough self-confidence, you can let customers leave if it will make them better off. You may lose a client but keep your reputation when you do the right thing. The word will spread around, which, in turn, will bring new clients. Taking the high road always catches attention. What are YOUR beliefs about letting clients go? Feel free to share ideas that worked for you in this matter. Interested in contributing to this blog? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org