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I don't know who to call anymore...

Each week, Butler Street Research receives survey responses on behalf of our clients using the Net Promoter Score and specific follow-up questions designed to capture their customers’ experience with their organization.

If you’re familiar with the Net Promoter Score question, you know that it is a single question used to measure customer loyalty asking, “How likely is it that you would recommend [company] to a friend or colleague?” On a scale of 0-10, anyone that rates the company a 9 or 10 is considered a Promoter, 7 or 8 is a Passive, and 6 or below is a Detractor. Then the percentage of Detractors is subtracted from the percentage of Promoters and that equals the Net Promoter Score.

The real “gold bricks” are the comments as to why each contact provided the rating that they did. There are three common themes in the Detractor responses across almost all organizations.

How many of these do you think you could hear from your clients? Find out how you can prevent them.

1. “I don’t know who to call anymore.”

Turnover within the ranks in an organization happens. It also creates risk in your client relationships and your future revenue. So many times we have seen a previously loyal client say that after their rep left, they just don’t know who to go to when they need help.

What you can do:

  • Ensure that there are at least three relationships between your organization and the client’s. This way, when one person changes (either in your organization or the client’s) there are already other established relationships that form a stronger bond.

  • Communicate proactively about the change, letting the contacts know who they can call or email for help (in addition to the main number or generic mailbox).

  • Communicate frequently. Don’t just send an email one time and wait for them to remember the next time they have a need.

2. “It takes too long to get a response.”

Whether it is a quote or an estimate in the print world or to hear back on the status of an open requisition in staffing, clients want and need someone that is responsive to their requests.

What you can do:

  • Understanding a client’s expectations is the first step. If you’re unsure, it is better to ask then to assume that you have a week when they are looking for an answer the same day.

  • It may sound obvious, but what is often overlooked is actually being responsive. Even if you do not have good news to share, a client would rather hear an update than nothing at all. If you’re looking for the perfect candidate or ensuring they get the highest quality proof, let them know you are working on their request and let them know you know it is important to them and that you are on top of it.

3. “We were using them, but now we are using another company.”

Yikes.. this client already left and no one probably even realizes. The rep may be trying to justify that a client doesn’t have any current needs or rationalizing that it is a decline in the economy, a seasonal downturn, or any myriad of what we call SAEs (Socially Acceptable Excuses). Related: Excuses, Excuses, Excuses: The Failure Formula

What you can do:

  • It may not be too late! You need to get to the root cause though, because if you don’t they won’t come back. Perhaps the root cause is related to not knowing who to call, lack of previous responses or it could have been a single bad experience. It is important to find out. Related: How to Learn the “Wrongs” You Need to “Right”

  • Provide a frictionless experience at every touchpoint. If your clients have difficulty placing an order, receive poor quality, don’t hear back, or get invoices with errors, it isn’t a frictionless experience and they will look to another provider to help them.

  • Continuously communicate the value you are providing. People change, systems change and your clients’ needs change. Remember, Client retention is a direct correlation to your company’s ability to deliver on what you promised during the sales process AND your ability to adapt to the changing needs of your client over time, personnel change, changing priorities and advancing technology.

In each of the three common themes heard in client detractor survey responses, there is one key component needed to avoid hearing them from your clients. It all starts with communication. Keep your customers involved in your activities and use every available channel available to speak with them.

If you haven’t done a Net Promoter Score survey recently, it’s time! Contact us to schedule a survey and find out which of your clients are loyal and learn exactly who is not. Remember, not many people can sell a customer, but anyone can lose one.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

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