Let’s hang on to what we’ve got

It’s common knowledge that It costs you five times or more to acquire a new client than to hang on to what you’ve got. So what are you doing to hang on to your existing clients before going to chase new business?

If half of your revenue or less is coming from your existing customer base, then you may need to concentrate on providing better customer service and improving your retention rate.

It doesn’t apply to all businesses, but most of the CEO clients that I work with derive 70 to 90 percent of their revenue year over year comes from their existing clients, which means that they put a strong focus on customer satisfaction.

The first step in increasing customer satisfaction and retaining clients is to truly understand why they are buying from you and ensure that you are meeting (and exceeding) their expectations.

I tell every one of my CEOs to call on their top 10 customers and ask them why they are buying from them. I also tell them to hand them their business card and let that customer know that they have a direct line of communication to them personally. So if their promise isn’t being met, the customer should feel comfortable enough to pick up the phone and call. Realize that the customer has to create reasons in their own mind to move on to another company–but they will if they don’t feel like they are getting what they need out of the relationship.

The second step is to take the feedback from your customers and focus on what they are doing well at. Once you fully understand what your strengths are and where clients are satisfied with your service, it opens the door to new customer opportunities.

Thirdly, ensure that everyone in your organization is an ambassador–especially account managers (farmers) that have constant contact with your client base. This is your first line of defense in preventing the rock falling through the cracks and losing clients.

Published by edstillman

I grew up in Carlsbad, north San Diego County, lost my dad as a teenager, went into the USAF for four years and hired on with 3M in 1969. Received my AA from Santa Barbara City College, BA and Masters from Redlands University and after 33 plus years, I retired from 3M in 2002. As I look back on my life, I have been creating myself and developing my skill sets to be a business coach and a Vistage Chair. I am president of SEOT, a "personal improvement" consulting firm spending most of my time working with Central Texas executives running small to medium size for-profit companies who are focusing on improving their profitability greater than their competition. My area of interest is assisting senior executives in creating a better balance between business commitments and personal relationships. I also facilatate three leadership labs each consisting of a dozen owners, presidents and CEOs. We meet monthly both in a group setting as well as in a 1-to-1 coaching session. Our focus is to sharpen each others' skills in becoming better leaders, making better decisions and taking ourselves and companies to that next level. Who are we? My members are experienced top executives who recognize that they don’t have all the answers and who actively seek the company of successful peers—both to give and receive insights and ideas. My members mine the 200 plus years of chief executive experience that comes together in our monthly meetings and members are eager to offer their own experience and insights in the process. As a group, we spend our time exploring topics members can't discuss anywhere else. My members have many other places where they can engage in idle, "cocktail party" chatter. Our mission is to provide the setting for discussing the "undiscussable." Where or who can you go to for confidential, honest feedback to assist you in minimizing your personal "Worry List"?

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