On a broad level, you may think you have a clear idea of who your customers are. However, many times when you look at groups of people from a high-level you end up glancing over the unique qualities in individuals. This commonly results in companies that speak in generalities and platitudes. Sadly, doing this means that even though every one of your customers is unique – whether in how they like to be spoken to, or what their personal business goals are, or their lifestyle – you aren’t building personal relationships with them.
The lack of personal connection poses a few big risks, but chief among them is that customers will become unresponsive. For example, when you ask for feedback on a feature, they don’t respond or give monosyllabic answers. Eventually, this unresponsiveness can lead to account cancellation and bitterness.
To nip this problem in the bud and reinvigorate the relationship you can change a few things. You can get rid of the customer – unadvisable – or you can communicate a different message – very difficult – or you can replace yourself – your best choice.
Replacing yourself as the primary customer contact can breathe life into stale customer relationships and save accounts. Once you have new people on board, there are a few ways you can utilize their freshness to salvage customer relationships.
Announcing Fresh Faces
When you bring on a new hire, one of the easiest things you can do is to announce the addition to the team. A simple announcement may pique the interest of a handful of people, but that’s a missed opportunity. Instead, you should make sure that people understand that it’s not just a new hire, but it’s a new chapter. This means emphasizing their past experience and how that experience will result in new features and benefits that customers have been asking for.
For example, say there’s a company that’s been hard at work on a few new features for the past few months. The features are well underway, but they won’t be ready for two more months. It would be foolish to announce the features this early, but the company wants people to know that real progress is being made. A new hire blog post is a great opportunity to do this:
A troubling part of any business is unsatisfied customers – once they’ve reached the point where they’re openly discussing their dissatisfaction, there’s very little companies can do. This is because many of the root problems stem from either not finding value in the services provided or from personally disliking the people they’ve worked with at the company. Regrettably, these issues aren’t easily solved. Despite their, new hires can provide the answer.
A great way to use new hires to save the accounts of chronic complainers is to make them the primary point of contact for the customer. For example, if you send an email to one of your customers introducing them to the new hire and explaining that they’re going to be their new point of contact, you have a great opportunity. You can tell them that this new person wants to really make their mark, that you’re only assigning them high-priority customers, and that you wanted to make sure they got introduced by you personally. The new hire can take it from there and – starting from a fresh place – rebuild the customer relationship.
Show the Ropes
When you hire someone new, the first thing you typically do is explain the intricacies of the business, how you work, give them access to company accounts and tools, and get them started on a couple of projects. That’s all well-and-good, but make sure you don’t misuse this occasion!
Every new hire you bring on should be introduced to some of your customers with the request that the customer briefly show them why the product is great. Not only is it an educational opportunity for the new employee to learn more about the business, but it also encourages the customer’s loyalty by making them feel like one of the team. Flattering customers and making them feel like a close confidant is a sure-fire way to convince them to stick around, regardless of any past cynicism or negativity they’ve felt.
Letting Them Speak
It’s inevitable that your team will begin to think similarly over time. Shared experiences have the tendency to influence people in similar ways, without consideration of how people may have thought or felt initially. As a result, new hires have a voice and vantage point that is different than the rest of your company: they have a past that is unbiased by what you’ve already gone through.
You need to give this voice a platform where it can speak to your customers. Open up your social accounts and company blogs and allow new hires to speak freely about joining the company. This doesn’t mean overhauling your company’s voice, but rather showing customers that there are fresh opinions being expressed and the old way of doing things is being challenged. Yes, you should make it clear that these are the thoughts of just one new person in case things don’t change as radically as a post may indicate, but that doesn’t mean you should censor new ideas.
When you’ve reached the point where customers are openly complaining about your company or your services, it can seem inconceivable that they might transform into champions of what you’re doing. That’s why hiring new people is such a valuable moment. It can breathe new life into relationships and change the dynamic between your company and your customers.
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