As many of you know, I recently dove into creating online courses. This has involved a massive learning curve – well, less a curve than a continual roller coaster (and I’m not a fan of roller coasters). The process could have been shorter – and more profitable for everyone – if I’d been able to reach someone from my chosen platform on the phone. I learn best by talking and doing. While I’m not adverse to chat sequences, they are definitely not my preference. As a consequence, my loyalty to this platform is … tenuous, and it’s possible some of your clients and customers are feeling the same way about you.
What contributes to “tenuous loyalty”? What strengthens and grows customer retention?
There’s a simple phrase that sums up the best path to client retention and loyalty: “It’s not about you!”
Of course, it doesn’t feel that way when you are running or managing a business. Everything seems to be about you, from greeting the first customer in the morning to turning off the lights at night. But these tasks are not about you; they are responsibilities you have chosen in order to own a business. The business is about your customer because without them … there’s no business.
When I think about my online learning platform, I can visualize how busy they are, how quickly they’ve grown, how so much of their time, effort and funds have to go toward constantly improving their technology and the experience they create. I also understand that they are working across multiple time zones and I know that paying people to talk and train on the phone is expensive. So it’s best for them if I send in my questions by chat and allow them to reply within 24 hours.
But it hasn’t been best for me and I represent some percentage of their customer base that would also prefer to learn the platform by talking with someone. Maybe it’s not a big percentage. Maybe its only 8% – but that 8% is talking to their colleagues about their experience and advising them to investigate alternate platforms.
The solution? When it comes to communicating with your customers, ask them what they prefer. Find out what percentage want to have a phone conversation vs email vs text vs video vs chat.
Unlike “the old days” when landlines ruled the business universe, communication is a multiple choice activity. This is a challenge for every business. But if you ignore this challenge, if you don’t investigate your clients’ communication preferences, you will lose business. Is that okay with you?