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Get Paranoid & Proactive

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Some time ago I began advocating a strategy of Constructive Paranoia e.g. assume that your customers are about to leave the business and adopt a proactive strategy to keep them in the building. Of course for some there is no need to assume this worst-case scenario. That reality has already dawned.

The challenge of keeping and satisfying customers has been well stated. One Bain and Co survey found that every four years a company loses 50% of its customers. The average business never hears from 96% of its unhappy customers and it costs five times more to attract a new client as opposed to servicing an existing one. (Research compiled by Technical Assistance Research Programme, U.S.A.)

Research has shown that a 5% decrease in defections can improve a firm’s bottom line by 25% and upwards.

Loyal shoppers tend to spend four times as much in their favourite store as opposed to promiscuous shoppers. (Research by Technical Assistance Research Programme, U.S.A.)

In addition a key quest for many economies is to develop our competitiveness, as is the case in Ireland. Certainly a return to the basics, such as excellent customer service, would help.

So how can we proactive in the context of customer retention?

1. Make Those Moments Count

Every organisation - small or large – can set high standards and create policies around how customers are treated. For instance: how quickly are people dealt with if they walk into the reception area? What is the accepted lead time between a telephone enquiry and the delivery of promotional information/materials? What is the complaints handling procedure?

Get a page and list every possible area where your customers connect with your business. Think about every point of contact.

Now, set standards for each in conjunction with your relevant team. The philosophy then should be to exceed the customer’s expectations at every one of these points of contact.

Anything less in the existent environment simply isn’t acceptable.

If you want to develop this one step further you can create a customer charter which will document in detail the minimum standards your customers can expect from you.

Kevin Kelly, International Motivational Speaker and Best Selling Author. For the past two decades Kevin has keynoted as a motivational speaker at conferences in Europe, Middle and Far East and the US. For more

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