I often find myself in a situation where I’m deciding how much effort should be put into keeping or saving a client. My accounting department would say, “hold them to the contract because they agreed to it!” Though my accounting team has a good point (they’re trying to keep our business viable), is the next few months of payment, their cancellation fee, or their initial purchase really all the customer is worth?
The community will give you a resounding “NO!” The Harvard Business School Published an article nearly 10 years ago discussing what a customer is worth. They mention two things that every customer reliant business (ie. every business) should remember.
Customer Loyalty is constantly diminished with the ease at which they find other viable options out there. Clients and consumers will find better prices than yours, they’ll find better products than yours, and they’ll show you no concern as your competition whisks them away.
A point that the Harvard article failed to touch on (probably because it has only become much more prominent over the last few years) is the speed & reach of word of mouth. So that’s going up as my third bullet point here.
Here’s a fun video that illustrates the speed and power of social media:
This means that a bad customer experience can and will probably be in the hands of hundreds, even thousands in a matter a few minutes. Many of those people can and should be potential customers. Many will be current customers.
So what are the options at this point? Do you need to bend over backwards for every client? Do you need to cater to every need at the client’s whim?
The phrase, “the client is always right” has never been more correct than it is today. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to go out of business trying to satisfy clients. But we’ll talk about diffusing angry customers in another post.
Right now let’s recap how valuable a customer is. My accounting department sees the initial value: the clients purchase/monthly subscription. The rest of my company, especially my marketing and service teams, need to look at the value of the client relationship (again another post). That relationship will keep that customer coming to you rather than your competitors, AND all of their friends/followers, their friends/followers, their friends/followers, etc.