3 Steps to Rekindle the Customer Relationship

3 Steps to Rekindle the Customer Relationship

It’s common knowledge that it takes work and devotion to keep personal long-term relationships happy and enduring. Not so commonly known is that the same goes for companies’ relationships with customers.

The recent rise in subscription-based businesses makes customer retention more crucial than ever before. In fact, recurring revenue from software and hardware maintenance and support and SaaS subscriptions accounts for between 30% to 40% of a company’s revenue and up to 50% of profit. However, in today’s competitive recurring revenue economy, it’s harder than ever before to get “till death do us part” commitments from customers.

Results from the ServiceSource “Customer Loyalty Survey” got me thinking about this important yet increasingly ambivalent customer/company relationship, and how to keep the fires burning in 2014 and beyond.

1. Recognize your faults and vow to change
The first step to keeping the customer relationship alive is to acknowledge that you’ve been neglectful in the past, and vow to change how you nurture the customer relationship in the future. It’s okay to admit that new customers hold a certain appeal compared to the customers you’ve already won – the thrill of scoring a new customer makes you feel like you still have “game,” but tends to marginalize the customers you’ve already won. Therefore, make a conscious effort to show the love to your current customer base. Steps #2 and 3 below will show you how.

2. Strengthen communication
Every good relationship relies on effective communication and action. The best way to nurture your customer relationships? Friendly, knowledgeable and most importantly, consistent outreach.

In my last blog, I emphasized that lack of customer outreach is the #1 reason customers don’t renew. And with the recurring revenue economy worth an estimated $310B annually and growing, now’s the time to dedicate resources to customer retention.

As in any relationship, if you only reach out when you need something, you’ll be resented. Of the 200+ IT-decision-makers surveyed, 57% only heard from their vendors at renewal time, if at all. That inattention, coupled with the 42% of customers that take sales calls from their vendors’ competitors at least once per quarter (20% at least once per month), is a recipe for customer churn.

Show your customers that you care about their needs and long-term success; see if they have any questions, problems or concerns. Devoting time to reaching out to customers will pay off handsomely when it comes time to renew.

3. Demonstrate how you can grow together
Now that you’ve ramped up customer outreach, use that line of communication to ensure proper user adoption of your product or service by making certain that your customer is made aware of all of the available capabilities. Understanding the product or service not only increases the likelihood of renewal, but also triggers new opportunities for cross-sell and upsell. It’s much easier for a salesperson to encourage the purchase of additional modules if the customer feels he or she has derived full value from the original purchase.

It’s not too late to take your customer relationship from “it’s complicated” to “committed.”

Follow me on Twitter @Ackermanjay

Share Button

Jay Ackerman

As Head of Worldwide Sales and Customer Success, Jay Ackerman leads ServiceSource's global customer success and outside sales organization. With a customer-centric philosophy, Jay’s team ensures customers realize maximum value and success from ServiceSource solutions.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>