Now more than ever the clients who are already spending money with you, who are already loyal to you, and who have previously spent with you, are the key to your business success.
If we do not provide our existing clients with a heightened level of service they may choose to stop working with us, and without their loyal custom, stabilising your business will be a challenge.
So, let’s talk about how you relate to your customers through using the account management practices that we have in place.
There have always been a set of key objectives with regards to account management and they still remain the same. All of our account management processes and practices are written around these objectives:
To have maximum levels of customer satisfaction – to have happy delighted customers who are advocates for your business.
These objectives are to ensure you have great client retention – that people buy from you again and again and you’re keeping your loyal customers with you as long as you can.
They are to generate as much repeat business as you possibly can.
And they are to create as much referral business as you possibly can.
These four key objectives are the reasons that we build an account management strategy in the first place and they are all centered around the basic premise that we must be delivering value if we want to have really, really engaged clients. Every piece of account management that happens in your business should look to track and measure and build tangible evidence for the value that is being added.
So, this is the stuff that’s always been the same – if your business has very, very clear strategies and processes and practices in place around how you make sure that these four things are true in your business and how you constantly and enhance the value you’re adding, then you’ve got an opportunity to maximise your client retention and to maximise your client loyalty.
However, even with these four things being true, our market is changing. At Elation we have spent a huge amount of time in the last three weeks doing everything that we can to understand the changing landscape.
The very first thing that we did, on the day that we got sent into lockdown, was print a list of every single client who had spent any money with us within the last 12 months, whether they were currently spending or only had done previously. We divided that list up and we engaged with every single client to make sure that we fully understood what was happening with their business. If your suppliers haven’t phoned you within the last three weeks to check up on your business, they are missing an opportunity.
The one thing that is really important to recognise now is that the value that you used to add may no longer be relevant. We have live projects with a number of clients and the work that we had proposed for them, the products and services that they were planning to buy from us, simply became irrelevant the day that we all got sent to work from our homes or had to furlough staff, and the day when our client base declined.
So, the value that we might have been adding 4 to 5 weeks ago, the areas in which our customers were getting really great benefits from us, suddenly became a completely different story. By reaching out to our clients we were looking to understand four key things and these are the things that I would be encouraging you to ask of your entire target market. I would also be encouraging you to ask these questions of your peer group and your suppliers as well as your customers, so that you have a really clear picture of where you are positioned in the market.
Step One in stabilising your business right now is to use your existing relationships to achieve the following aims:
To understand how to take your account management strategy even deeper, look out for part 2 coming soon.