Customer Service is one of those things that we know can help you keep happy and loyal customers for a long time.  We know it costs 6X more to land a new client than to keep an old one.  Yet, customer service is also an area we tend to be a little lazy about.  We leave it to our sales teams to “check in,” or project managers to “see how things are going,” or to you – the owner, to remember amongst the other 15 priorities on your desk to take a great client out to lunch.
Consider this: Xerox did a study years ago to understand why customers leave.  Their findings?
1% die
3% move away
5% buy from a friend
9% buy from a competitor
14% leave because of price
I’d argue that most of those are controllable to some extent when you have good systems in place around customer service and maintaining relationships.
Want to know the biggest reason that Xerox found about why customers leave?
PERCEIVED INDIFFERENCE.  68% leave because they think you just don’t care.
Let me show you a better approach than leaving your valuable customer relationships to chance.
We call it the Customer Loyalty Ladder (TM).  Used in thousands of businesses over the last 30 years and in over 81 countries, this proven framework takes the guesswork out of building repeatable systems around caring for your customers over the long term.  It looks like this:
SUSPECTS – This is the universe of people who could buy what you do.   Moments of Truth to have systems for: what happens when someone goes looking for what you do?  Can they even find your company?  How well does your website answer their questions?  What does it sound like when your team answers the phone?  When they ask about pricing, what do you say?
PROSPECTS – These are the folks who have raised their hands and have expressed interest in your product or service.  Moments of Truth to have systems for: how long does it take your people to follow up?  How do they feel when they are talking with your sales team?  Are you sharing with them how to buy from you, or are you simply spewing the litany of products that you have and giving them too many options?
SHOPPERS – They “buy” something.  Moments of Truth to have systems for: What’s their experience like?  Is it consistent with their expectations?  If you were treated exactly like they are being treated, would you be excited to do business with you again?
CUSTOMERS – They come back and buy a second or third time.  Moments of Truth to have systems for: Does your team have the checklist and timing so that your new customers know everything they could buy from you?  How consistent is your 1st 100 days with a new client?
MEMBERS – These people are now members of your community.  Moments of Truth to have systems around: How are you thanking and rewarding them for being your customers?  How is your team helping them feel welcome in your tribe?

ADVOCATES – These people will recommend you to others if asked.  Moments of Truth to have systems for: What are they saying about you?  What do you want them to say?

RAVING FANS – These people sing your praises when you’re not in the room.  They are referral machines for your company!  Moments of Truth to build systems around: How are you thanking them consistently?  What special events or swag are you regularly bringing to them?
Next month, I’ll dive a bit deeper into each of these areas in the Customer Loyalty Ladder (TM).
In the meantime, look at your company through the Loyalty Ladder lens.  Where are your Moments of Truth?  Where do you have great systems in place, and where do you need to plug some gaps?

About ActionCOACH: Susan Thomson and Mike McKay own ActionCOACH Business & Executive Coaching of Wisconsin. Imagine a team that can take you from the chaos and stress of running your business to making more money, growing your team, and gaining freedom!