Congratulations on your big win. You worked hard and beat out two other competitors to acquire a new client. Now, the real work begins, because your best client is now another company’s best prospect.
Acquiring a new client can be five to 25 times more expensive than keeping one. But how many companies have installed processes and systems designed to retain clients? How many companies teach their salespeople and customer service teams the soft and hard skills needed to keep clients feeling loved and appreciated?
The answer: not enough.
Research from Peppers and Rogers shows that customers rely on their emotional experiences with salespeople more than any of the traditional factors. They also discovered that:
- 60 percent of all customers stop dealing with a company because of what they perceive as the indifference of salespeople.
Let’s look at one emotional intelligence skill that will help your sales organization keep the business it worked so hard to earn.
Empathy. I contend that the indifference customers feel, cited by Peppers and Rogers research, is really lack of empathy from the salesperson or customer service rep. What’s interesting is that these individuals do possess empathy skills -- they simply don’t know how to effectively apply them when dealing with a complaint or frustrated customer.
When a customer shares a problem, people immediately start solving the problem rather than showing they know what the customer is thinking or feeling.
Remember, people buy emotionally, and it doesn’t stop after the sale is made.
Let me share a quick example. My husband and I are the perfect demographic for reading newspapers. We are boomers who still like to read a paper. (Please don’t judge us digital natives.) Two papers are delivered to our house -- some days. Our carrier just can’t seem to find our house at least one day a week, so we call an automated line that lies and says they will look into it. Which they don’t.
Recently, we got a live human being on the phone. We nicely shared our frustration, to which the salesperson responded, “Well, it looks like we are doing much better. The last time you called in was three weeks ago.”
So much for empathy and creating an emotional connection.
A better response, an empathetic response, might have been, “I’m so sorry. It looks like we are experts at screwing up your delivery and wasting your time because you have to call in to request a paper. Let me see what I can do for you. I promise to give you an update on what we will change to ensure predictable service.”
Yes, we are still customers because we have no other local paper in our area. But your customers probably do have other options. Don’t let them become part of the 60 percent statistic that leaves to do business with a salesperson that has been taught the value of empathy and building an emotional connection.
Work as hard on retaining clients as you do in acquiring new clients.