Customer engagement is a critical challenge facing all Denver-area organizations and businesses. Many local organizations face growing competition as new competitors crop up daily and technology continually shifts how we communicate with one another. At the February 19, 2020 Executive Roundtable, Webolutions welcomed local businesses and non-profit leaders to discuss the impacts of effective client/customer retention, empowering one another with ideas and tools to better connect with their audiences.
“Getting new clients cost five times more than keeping and nurturing existing customers,” said Webolutions Founder and CEO John Vachalek. Webolutions started the roundtable discussion by outlining the key to customer retention: Do not allow your client/customers to reach a state of indifference or disenchantment. Denver executives pointed out that customer service is expected within their prospects. “Providing good customer service is the norm,” said a sales executive. “Customers expect you to go beyond customer service.” What are some of the ways of going beyond just good customer service? Denver executives said they focus on the client/customer’s transformation. “Focus on what the client is looking to achieve, and be an agent of change in the transformation,” said Vachalek. To help in client transformation, one executive in the software industry said he starts small in contributing to a customer’s transformation, and then grow the enthusiasm based off the results. “We want to show a clear path of what success looks like — early in the process — and then build up that success from there for the customer” he said.
The next discussion outlined the process of delighting — or losing — a customer, based on the customer lifecycle of consumption:
Purchase – Diffused Need -> Focused Need -> Purchase Decision – You win the client
Ownership – Confirmation -> Identification -> Gratification – You start the relationship
Repurchase – Indifference -> Disenchantment -> Receptive – You could lose the client
“Prospects will leave because they are unhappy. Clients will leave because of money,” said one attendee. To avoid losing a customer, Denver-area executives said to focus on the destination of each customer. “It’s important to ask right away what they want,” said one attendee who is a communications executive. “The end is where you start.” In addition to finding out personal goals, Denver-area executives said they tie in their organization’s values and mission statement to support their clients’ goals.
Of course, no executive in attendance mentioned that their customer / client journeys were perfect. However, there are ways to “work through the speed bumps,” as one executive in the engineering industry mentioned. “You can’t ignore a personal touch,” she said. “When it comes to working with them on issues that hit close to home, it builds your engagement with the customer.” Another executive in the information technology industry pointed out the importance of asking for feedback to improve customer engagement. “It’s about asking the customer how did my team do and how can I be more effective,” he said.
In a recent study, 58% of executives reported that they have no formal client engagement program, while 60% were unsure how many clients they’d lost within the past year. To wrap up the Roundtable, Webolutions presented the Customer Retention Rate (CRR) Formula to Denver-area leaders as a method to better identify how effective they are at keeping their customers during a specific period.
E = # of Customers at the End of the Period
N = # of Customers Acquired During the Period
S = # of Customers at the Start of the Period
Other examples of how local organizations are tracking engagement include a Net Promoter Score, a management tool that can gauge how well a customer is likely to refer a business’ services. Executives in the non-profit industry prefer to add a more personal touch, including personal handwritten notes. No matter which industry, Denver-area executives agree that in order to engage and retain customers and clients, it all boils down to relationships.
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