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Growing Client Value 2011

Growing Client Value

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Executive Summary.
  1. Why this is important.
  2. The Client Trust bank account.

 

pic_andrewWe live in a turbulent, rollercoaster world, where no one, politicians, financiers and economists seem to know what is happening tomorrow, let alone in three, six or 12 months. The double dip recession, feared by many, is now a reality in many countries.
As business professionals, we need to appreciate and understand that business has and will go on. Yes, businesses may purchase less than they have been, but purchase they will. To ensure that your business not only survives, but in fact grows in the current tough times, clients' needs need to be understood and met, even more so. Those businesses that have consistently been able to understand their clients' needs have developed a strong relationship that will see them through the tough times ahead.

Your Client Service Bank Account
The good news is that those businesses that have made an effort to build client loyalty through delivering on exceptional client experience management will find themselves at least partially insulated. They have a credit in their client experience account at the bank. In tough times people like to deal with businesses that have a genuine track record of caring or having gone that extra mile. Businesses that have been ignoring or otherwise abusing their clients will suffer now. Their client experience account will be overdrawn. Before they know it, red ink will flow.

To quote Don Peppers, co-founder of the Peppers and Rogers Group "Clients have memories. Their service experience today, if positive, will enhance their future value to your company, a critical consideration in an uncertain economy."

Clients Rule – especially in an uncertain economy.
There are really three primary reasons for this, outlined below:

  1. Clients give you 'growth'
    What's growth? The knowledge that even in the worst economic downturn, there will continue to be clients who will be spending. Some will pay a premium to remain with you, rather than incur the expense and inconvenience of moving to a competitor. Don't focus on new business; rather focus on assisting those clients that are prepared to build the relationships. Conversely, identify those clients that consume your financial, human and other resources, with little or no profit in return. Consider closing their accounts, so that your limited resources may be redeployed to clients that will give you growth.
  2. Client retention is a strategic capability.
    In an uncertain economy, losing clients, especially good ones, is a huge cost to carry, as they will be very expensive to replace. The cost of retaining clients is proven to be less than 10% of the cost of acquiring new ones. Hence solidifying these relationships is a strategic capability based on building and retaining their loyalty. This is done three ways;
    • Ensuring value expected is exceeded
    • Building trust and trustability
    • Going the extra mile
  3. Investments in client relationships may be made incrementally.
    By prioritising your limited client service resources against the subset of most valuable and most growable clients, spending may be refocused, driving retention and increasing revenues and profitability through specifically identified client segments and/or clients in conjunction with customized value propositions that your competitors are unable meet.

So moving into 2012, the key message is that relationships based on trust become even more important than ever, given our economic challenges, both in SA and the world as a whole. It's also important to understand that these uncertain times aren't going to last forever. However the strength of the relationships that your company builds with its clients will endure and indeed gain in strength over time.

 

Andrew Clare is Managing Partner of reLiance a business to business relationship marketing practice. I focus on improving client profitability through developing, implementing and measuring sustainable, collaborative business to business relationships.

Cell: +27 83 326 2451, E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Web: www.rassa.co.za, LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/andrewclare

 

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