Column: Are you driving your best customers away?

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Commentary by George Klein

I recently had a bad experience with a company where I have been a great customer for more than 20 years. I spend a lot of money, and always pay on time. There was a mix up on my account and without even reaching out to me, my account was suspended. I was shocked. The pain was compounded when I tried to make contact to get the issue resolved. I had to put up with cumbersome automated phone attendants and repeat my information to five service reps. Needless to say, I am done with that company.

Why didn’t they know I was a great customer? One phone call could have quickly resolved the issue, and I would have continued to do business with them.

Do you know who your best customers are? Chances are they are low-profile customers who don’t cause problems and quietly drive most of your profits.

According to the Pareto Principle, 80 percent of your revenue comes from just 20 percent of your customers. Although all customers deserve great service, the top 20 percent are your VIPs and deserve special treatment. They are loyal and are very expensive to replace. It’s critical to know who they are and to have strategies in place to keep them engaged. Highly engaged customers buy 90 percent more often and spend 60 percent more per transaction, according to Rosetta Consulting.

Retaining your VIPs is critical to growing your business. Eighty-two percent of companies agree that retention is cheaper to execute than acquisition, with costs as high as 500 percent more to acquire new customers. Every interaction with your VIPs is an opportunity to deepen the relationship with your brand. Identify the VIPs in your CRM and include specific information about them to help employees interact at a deeper level. That same information should be used to ensure your VIPs have frictionless experiences with you. Don’t make them find an account number, order history or payment information. Most importantly, empower your touchpoint employees to do whatever is necessary to take care of problems, including easy escalation to drive better outcomes.

Add value to the customer relationship by reaching out to your VIPs to deliver information and promotions that might better meet their needs.

Finally, ask your VIPs for feedback about your products and services, make it easy for them to share that feedback and use it to make improvements. Customers will tell you what they want and may even lead you to solutions you’d never come up with on your own.

George Klein is the CEO/Founder of Peoplocity, a customer feedback and communication platform. Contact him at George@peoplocity.com.   

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