Uh Oh. Your best customer just sent you an email or left a voice message saying that they are not happy and are taking their business elsewhere. What do you do next?
Before we answer that question, let's reflect on what led up to this point with the customer. Most of the proactive interaction with your customer probably involved things that you would never think of doing when they are unhappy. For example, you might regularly send them group emails via BCC saying that you hope they are doing ok. You might have another department call them to upsell additional services. Perhaps you may even send them gifts. Of course, if those "gifts" are in the form of your own branded merchandise, then that's marketing... not a gift.
That all sounds reasonable. The problem is that's the same drill everyone goes through once the customer relationship goes sour. What if you followed a similar principle before anything ever reached the point of a customer becoming unhappy and wanting to cancel?
Components for Success
Early in the sales process, you discuss with your customer how together you will measure the results of your efforts. The mistake most people make is they fail to monitor progress after the sale. If you track results, then you'll know when your customer is meeting/exceeding their goals, or when they are falling short. If you ensure your customer sees the results they were buying, they become a great source for repeat and referral business.
Don't get roped into doing things that are not your expertise. I've seen many companies fail not by doing what they are best at, but they fail doing something that went beyond their expertise. Here's a good example, we are doing a renovation on our home right now. I worked with John, our contractor, on other projects in our home. For this larger renovation, I asked John if they could do the work. John said "I can do 80 percent of the job myself. But, there is a larger contactor who is the expert on managing the overall project when it gets to this size. I'd also want him to confirm the major structural changes." This increased on confidence with John. He and the person he introduced have teamed for our project;
If you Focus on Results, Exercise Restraint, and develop a plan for the First 100 Days, you'll create remarkable experiences for your customers, drive repeat and referral business, and waste little time trying to do damage control on the account that got away.
It's Your Turn
What early signs do you see that indicate a customer situation is going south? How do you address it? Drop us a question, and we'll offer suggestions.