Companies with a high customer retention rate know the value of client servicing. Essentially, this is the process of creating and maintaining a strong working rapport with each customer. Often referred to as customer care, it is about understanding the needs and desires of the customer, and moving to meet those needs in a proactive manner.
While there are a number of client service programs on the market today, there are a few elements that form the basis for any type that is effective. One of the most important keys is providing the client with people who know the account well and are able to be of assistance whenever needed. This means looking beyond the data that is gathered during the sale cycle. Client servicing dictates that the vendor develop a working knowledge of the goals of the customer, the conditions that the client works within, and what expectations must be met in order to keep the client.
Many companies make the mistake of securing a new customer, then never allow the sales contact to introduce other support personnel to the new client. Often referred to as a handoff, this allows the customer to be incrementally migrated from relying on the sales contact and begin to develop a relationship with customer care professionals. The idea is to help the new client understand that he or she has a support team that is in place for the long haul.
Quality efforts in client servicing involve maintaining regular contact with the customer. Often, vendors choose to schedule these contacts to suit their own goals, rather than consider the needs of the customer. Simply put, it does not matter if the vendor likes to speak with each customer once a week — if a client finds this approach to be invasive and inconvenient, he or she will shortly look for a new vendor. Smart companies understand the service part of the relationship, and structure regular contacts with the customer that work well with the customer’s culture. Often, the contacts may be phone calls, site visits, or emails, depending on the desires of the customer.
Ideally, this process is all about listening to the customer, getting to know the client, and genuinely seeking to be there for the customer in every possible manner. Generally, this approach builds a strong relationship that withstands provocative offers from competitors, creates opportunities for upselling, and also leads to excellent word of mouth for the vendor.