Existing Customers Are More Important Than Ones You Don’t Have Yet

There’s a place in the world for any business that takes care of its customer—after the sale. - Harvey Mackay

Don’t treat new customers or prospects better than old customers. It is very easy to fall into this trap and it’s a surefire recipe for the destruction of your reputation and your business. For example, it’s not unusual for a business to cut prices for new customers to attract their business while charging established accounts more money. All the explanations in the world are not going to change the mind of the existing customer that he is getting a raw deal.

A great way to make sure you are doing your best is to always act like your client has just told you she is considering another service. What would you do differently to try and keep that client from leaving? Well, first of all you would try to find out what was wrong, right? But let’s suppose there is nothing in particular, or at least nothing the client is willing to share with you, then what? In the karate business, we developed a five-step process for increasing customer loyalty when their interest started to wane.

You should consider developing a similar system to aid in getting your clients back on track. Let’s say that a ten-year-old child has expressed to us that he is losing interest in taking lessons; here are the steps we would then take:

  • First, we are going to make sure he has extra fun over the next few weeks.
  • Second, we are going to make sure he feels special. We might have him help teach the class to make him feel important, or have him help with a new student.
  • Third, we are going to set up a test date just beyond his renewal date, which will encourage him to stay and reach his next goal.
  • Fourth, we are going to provide him with encouragement and small rewards, perhaps a patch for his uniform.
  • Fifth, we are going to contact the parents and let them know just how proud we are of Johnny’s progress and all the things he is going to achieve in the future.

In short, we are going to go out of our way to do anything in our power to make sure Johnny doesn’t quit. But you know as well as I do that most clients do not give warning before riding into the sunset, never to be seen again. The solution is to simply treat each and every client as though they were thinking of quitting. When you do, you will soon see a dramatic improvement in your customer service and retention.

Treat each and every client as though they were considering quitting.

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