Archive for August 2013

Where are the budding stars at your company?

August 27, 2013

The answer is simple: They’re everywhere. And it’s up to you to find them.

In his biography of Bill Russell, author Murry R. Nelson writes about the NBA legend’s athletic struggles in high school and about one teacher/coach who helped to bring out the best in the young man others had overlooked and taken for granted.

After failing to make the school’s football team, Russell decided to try out for basketball instead. There were 15 spots available on the junior varsity team, and Russell, who had never played organized basketball before, was number 16 on the depth chart. But his coach “saw something in him as a person” and allowed him to split time with another player in order to make the team. He also helped Russell join the local Boys Club, where he could “practice his game on an indoor court.”

“In return for the faith and ‘investment’ [the coach] made in him,” Nelson writes, Russell “provided a constant drive and energy on the basketball court.” What’s more, he began practicing hard throughout the year and was able to make the varsity team his senior season.

Bill Russell would go on to enjoy a Hall of Fame career in the NBA, where he led the Boston Celtics to 11 NBA titles over the course of 13 years.

Just as faith from a coach helped to mold a young Bill Russell’s career path, guidance and mentoring are valuable training tools in business, too. Providing team members with the resources and skills training needed to succeed at their jobs can make a difference not only for the individuals you’re helping but also for the company (and team) as a whole. After all, who knows what potential “all-stars” might be waiting to be discovered on your team. All they need is a chance to shine.

Advertisements

Your VIP Clients

August 10, 2013

Even if you’ve already heard these statistics before or intuitively know them to be true based on your own experience, it may still be a bit startling to see them here again:

* It can cost up to 7 times more to acquire one new customer than to keep a current one.
* The likelihood of a prospect buying from you is between 5 and 20%. The likelihood of an existing customer buying from you again is between 60 and 70%.

Based on these numbers, it’s clear that nurturing and cultivating your existing client relationships can go a long way toward improving the health of your company’s bottom line. However, many companies devote most of their marketing budgets to new customer acquisition, rather than trying to keep existing customers coming back. New leads and customers are important, but your existing customers should also hold a very high place on your list of marketing priorities.

How can you keep customers coming back?

Sending simple thank you cards to show your appreciation is one idea. A monthly printed newsletter that informs, educates, and entertains is another. Picking up the phone and having a real conversation is perhaps the least expensive, yet most powerful way to retain existing clients.

There are many ways to show your appreciation, but timing is essential if you want to maximize the effect. The first 30 to 90 days after your new customer comes on board is the most important time to begin showing them your appreciation. If you haven’t done so already, create a blueprint for your remarkable customer experience plan that must be followed throughout your organization. Place one or two key people in charge of overseeing this plan to make sure it is implemented and followed through with every new customer.

This plan should have tasks and due dates attached for each activity. For example, your plan might call for a thank you card to be sent the day after a new customer comes on board. Gifts, lunches, coffee, phone calls, newsletters, and personal visits can all be part of the plan, as well. Make your customers feel like VIPs. Listen to their needs and respond quickly. What’s critical here is that you have a plan, that you have someone who is accountable for implementing the plan, and that you include due dates for each task in the plan.

Creating a remarkable customer experience can be as simple or as complex as you would like it to be. The more remarkable and unique you can make it, the more memorable the experience will be. The key is to have a plan and to always remember that it is much less expensive and profitable to keep an existing customer happy than it is to acquire a brand new customer.