Many years ago I was consulting with a client in the financial services industry. This credit card provider would send out literally 2-4 million marketing pieces at a time with the hopes of getting a fraction – under 3% – to respond. The client would then initiate a sales process with that 1-3% and hope to close a certain percentage of those. While I was helping them on the operational aspect of one area charged with this process, I couldn’t help to be awed by the waste…and the fact that they were using generic marketing messages on existing customers.
A customer is not a prospect, but this client was treating them like one.
In the world that we prefer to work in today – that of customer service, the patient experience, season ticket holder retention, and account growth – you view retention and growth as 1-on-1. You view it as me (the employee) knowing you (the customer) so personally, so specifically that I know how you prefer that I communicate with you. I know whether you’re thinking of staying or leaving for a competitor. I know whether you’re likely to be a good candidate for cross-sell/upsell, and I know the best way to do that. I know whether it’s okay to ask for a referral. And when you form your opinion of my organization, I know what are those main opinion-drivers.
Being successful in the customer service, client experience, customer retention world requires that you never start thinking of a client as a prospect. Once you do that, you give up the competitive advantage of having a deeper, more personal relationship with that client.
Don’t turn your clients into prospects.
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