The University of Tennessee has created a course called “Business Retention and Expansion in Tennessee.” While that’s not the most creative course name (kind of like my company, Customer Service Solutions, Inc. isn’t the most creative name…), it clearly indicates what this course addresses – retention and growth of your existing businesses. The course touts statistics such as “79 percent of all new jobs in the state in 2009 resulted from the expansion of existing business and industry.” That stat could apply to most any business – most of your revenue comes from existing clients.
So economic development organizations should have strategies, research, and training to be intentional about that business retention and job growth. Unfortunately, many communities make assumptions about retention such as:
· “We have no control over whether businesses stay or leave, whether they expand here or elsewhere.”
· “Nobody would leave our community.”
· “If there was an issue, the business leader would call me.”
· “I know everybody and everything going on in the community; so I’ll know if there’s something that’s an issue to a local business.”
These are all assumptions – assumptions that can get a community in trouble. And these assumptions apply to anybody who is managing accounts just like BRE representatives manage relationships with multiple local employers.
You have to believe you can make an impact. You have to understand that businesses might leave. You have to be proactive and not assume that businesses are going to contact you in time to help them. And you cannot assume you know all that’s going on in your local businesses.
Local economic development agencies need training and guidance in how to build relationships with local employers, how to proactively reach out to them, how to respond when needs and issues arise, and how to grow their jobs base.
Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?”
Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at
Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website!