The idea of a “sticky” customer is one which was discussed a lot throughout the two days of the GFI MAX EU Customer Conference and was the main focus of one of yesterday’s business sessions from Bob Lawson and Colin Blumenthal of Complete IT.
Bob kicked off the session by highlighting the importance of retaining customers and suggested some of the key things to look out for in order to catch the early warning signs a customer may be planning to leave.
He posed the question “Who is stalking your clients?” and suggested that if there are any of the following services you are not offering there could be the possibility that someone operating in one of these areas could be a threat to your customer base:
He then went on to suggest some of the possible reasons a client may have for deciding to leave, these included:
Highlighting the importance of continued engagement with your customers and catching the early warning signs that something might be wrong.
Interestingly Bob also put great emphasis on the Exit process stating “the exit process is almost as important as the onboarding and retaining processes” suggesting that by taking the time to conduct exit interviews you can learn what went wrong and both try to win back the client as well as ensure you do not make similar mistakes in the future.
Bob then handed over to Colin Blumenthal of Complete IT who talked us through just what can be done to avoid losing customers in any of the ways previously suggested by Bob.
Colin began by stating that to make a customer sticky “You’ve got to provide GREAT IT services that they find valuable” and went on to explain that what makes a good service GREAT is communication.
He highlighted the importance of listening to your customers and understanding what success looks like to each individual client as success can mean different things to different clients.
“Having the ability to have insight is the most important thing” he said as he explained that to take your service from being a great service to the next level you need to listen, adapt, think and be insightful.
He backed up Bobs earlier sentiments of the importance of catching the warning signs early, saying “Don’t just plough on and think things will get better, they won’t”...”make the change!” and he identified the signals which could indicate a client plans to leave:
One of the key ways Colin suggested to ensure good communication with your clients is to have regular and structured review meetings. His advice for doing so included:
He then pinpointed different ways to provide “sticky” services and types of "sticky" products which all help to tie in existing customers including:
Colin finished off with a case study which highlighted the importance of adding continued value to your customers business. Most importantly it showed how listening to your clients needs & requirements can help take you from being just a service provider to being a trusted adviser and "partner" in their business; helping them to reach their goals for business success.