Let’s face it: Growth is sexy. Sales is seductive. Acquiring new Customers gives a rush of dopamine that can only be described as euphoric. You’re probably thinking: It’s working! They love us! It is, and they do. But, what’s your plan to keep those Customers?
I know, I just brought you way down, but it’s cheaper to retain Customers than it is to acquire new ones. That’s not to say you should halt growth. Never halt growth, but do think about the life cycle of your Customer and what’s required to keep them engaged.
With your successful crowdfunding campaign, you now have a customer base to nurture. Do you have a plan to keep them engaged?
I’ve been in Customer Experience for 20 years and though I started with Fortune 500s, the last 10 years has been dedicated to startups. There’s been one thing that’s true in all of the startups I’ve worked with: the first hire for Customer Experience whose role was limited to responding to Customers.
The role is inexpensive and the Customers received responses, so things were fine. If they saw a lag, they’d add another body. Not until there were somewhere between 5-10 Customer Experience employees did they hire a manager, or some sort of leader to run the team.
What if I told you this was wrong….Oh. So. Wrong. You can’t scale easily when you build this way. It’s equivalent to building a house on hay…eventually it will sink.
I get it, you’re just getting going, who has money to spend on a high priced leader for (of all things) Customer Experience? You do. Let me tell you why: because it doesn’t have to cost as much as you think if you find the right partner.
You’ve got to shift your thinking and
start viewing your Customer Experience as an investment.
Bringing in someone who knows how to scale and grow, even in partnership, will save you thousands in hiring fees. These folks know how to do more with less, and they don’t throw people at problems.
I love working with early stage startups. The earlier the better. A client partnered with us prior to launching their e-commerce website for a consultation on a Customer Experience strategy. Here’s what we told them and would recommend you consider doing for your business:
- Take a guess: estimate how many Customers will contact you based on the number of orders received. Be conservative – it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Pre-empt your Customer needs and build out a Help Desk to reduce your inbound volume.
- Document all of your processes. This way when you hire, new staff can get up to speed quickly.
- For your first hire, don’t hire someone whose limit is customer engagement. Work with someone who can engage with Customers, but can also deter not deflect to keep your overhead down.
- Follow up after every purchase with a thank you message and an incentive to buy again.
This particular company consisted of 3 founders only and they could not afford to carry any direct hires. That’s no problem, The WorkForce Pro became their white label Customer Experience team and here’s how we delivered on all 5 items:
Here are the results:
- We estimated a 10% contact rate (for every order placed 10% of the Customer base would reach out). We were so wrong. I’ve never been happier to be wrong.
- The Help Desk received hundreds of views and less than 1% of their purchasing Customers submitted tickets (requests). Any requests received an actionable, on brand response within a couple of hours (via email) and immediately if by live chat.
- As their white label Customer Service team, we developed eLearning and an internal knowledge base and when needed, we could have a new person active on their account within 1 day.
- Because they partnered with us as their Customer Experience Business Partner, The WorkForce Pro was able to predict their workload (Workforce Management) and develop their training (Learning & Development) for less than 40% of the cost of those roles in the market.
- We followed up with 100% of their Customers within 3-5 days of purchase (to give them time to try the product) to offer a customer satisfaction survey and a small discount on their next purchase. With this model, they saw repeat purchases within a week in most cases.
Our client enjoyed a 60% return on investment (ROI) by leveraging our recommendations and putting them into action. We literally made ourselves obsolete. But that’s okay! If you’re in a place from which to scale, then our work here is done.
While growing is definitely sexy, retaining customers is sexiest. It costs you less to keep the customers you have and tons to acquire new ones. Now is the time to treat your customer experience as an investment, not an expense.