Customer Retention: Close the Revolving Door
Posted Apr 28, 2011, Published 2010-10-01
Clients don't always tell us when they're dissatisfied and drifting away. It's a difficult conversation for them to have. In other words, no news is not necessarily good news. Dentists' actions may speak volumes and you have to be open to "hear" those actions.
It's far more cost effective to keep existing clients than to replace them so knowing your client retention rate and tracking changes in their monthly spending patterns are critical. It's much easier to fix what's wrong now than to wait until they slip to zero sales and find a new "home." It's also fun to recognize and celebrate their "busyness" as soon as possible.
The easiest tracking method is to compare each client's current month sales to his three or four month rolling average. You may find a few dentists who are up a high percentage or who have dipped below their normal spending level. In either case, you should call the account.
Here are some suggestions for the context of the call. Test it out with your team or a friend before going live and "find your own voice." You will not be perfect, so just be yourself.
"Just calling to see how things are going." Assuming a positive response, follow up with, "Well, I wondered because your lab bill was up so much last month...you must be jamming over there."
Listen and respond appropriately to what he says and thank him for sending so much work.
Pay a specific compliment about one of his recent cases...maybe tell him you hope he stays so busy because the technicians really love doing his work.
"Just calling to check in and see how things are going (or went on a particular case)."
Listen and respond; if his work is down, you should pick up something about it from him. If he mentions nothing at all, that's a huge warning sign; go for the kill.
"Well, I noticed you haven't sent us much work in the last month. Are we still making you happy? Getting the job done?"
Again, listen and respond; fix anything you can.
No excuses and no finger pointing. Accept, apologize and promise to make it right. Then send a card or gift or both; drop it off personally, if possible.
I'm not saying quality, being on time, accuracy, fit, form and function aren't important; they are. I'm saying that sometimes laboratories slip up. If you don't hear clear and candid feedback, how will you know if something is either really good or really bad?
Your customers' buying patterns and actions speak louder than any of their words. Look, listen, measure current sales to rolling averages and manage the situation. If you "hear" something loudly, make a few calls.
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