I was a loyal Napster fan- I subscribed for 4 years, and then I saw a press advert for a new offer that was £3 per month cheaper than my rate. I rang up and tried to sign up. I couldn’t. I spoke, at length, customer services person and after much frustrating chatter, the guy said to me ‘we’ve already got you…why should we work so hard to keep you…?’ and I felt like a girl arriving at her new beau’s house to find her date naked in his front room, and ready for some action. She (a little shocked as they don’t know each other that well though they’ve recently moved beyond platonic) asks him what he thinks he’s doing and he replies- ‘I’ve had you once…’
Nothing should warm a consultant’s cold heart like a long-time client. No introductions of yourself and your company are necessary. You can get down to business, get the order and still have time to ask about their kids, talk about the big match or the latest industry gossip. So why do we somethimes treat them so badly?
Common mistakes that even the most experienced of us make with their long- time customers include:
- Assuming you know what’s going on with their business- so why waste time asking?.
- Failing to tell them about new stuff you can do; it’s in the e-mail they get every month, right?
- Not bothering to check your pricing and contracting relationship-It’s worked so far hasn’t it?
- Taking their business for granted – “So what do you have for me this month?”
- Not asking them, occasionally, why they do business with you. Why stir up trouble?
I only mention this because sometimes I need a KITP (Kick in the pants, more corporate than KITA, but you know what I mean don’t you?). And isn’t it worth reminding ourselves that our long-time clients deserve at least as much time, attention and professionalism as new ones, don’t they?