I wonder how many business owners really understand the value of a lifetime customer?
Most of us know that it costs a lot more to get a new customer than it does to keep an existing one, but I really wonder if most business owners fully appreciate our customers’ lifetime value. The chances are more likely, I think, to take our existing customers for granted and spend most of our time and marketing budgets going after new ones.
I once worked with a very well known CEO of a large, successful company. He fell into this trap, in fact, and wasn’t really interested in serving his existing, loyal customers. He really didn’t seem to have a lot of respect for them, while they were making him rich.
Fortunate for him, he had a very dedicated customer service director, who cared about their customers like it was her own company! In fact, she was accused of caring too much, if you can imagine that?
To me, she represents the epitome of great customer relations. And if I ran a big company, serving thousands of customers every day, I’d want someone just like her. She is the heart and soul of the company in my view. Unfortunately, she isn’t seen that way by the company owners. Very myopic, indeed.
Unfortunately, I don’t think this is as atypical as one might think — which is terribly backward to me, what with all our new, enlightened ways of treating customers (or just because we know they’ll stay longer) — how could a hip, savvy business owner fail to understand that his prized customers should be treated like royalty!
I know you’ll think I’m making this up, but I promise I’m not. He actually told me once that he “follows shiny objects.” Meaning that he’s too busy, following the next, exciting, techno-toy or some other distraction and so has to be reeled in, cornered and/or confronted with dwindling numbers before he’ll pay real attention to customers.
There is a phenomenon existing in the corporate world where some very attuned, genuine employees care more about customer care than the ones at the top. It’s so myopic I still have a difficult time getting my head around it, yet it’s true!
So, if you have a company, I urge you to care about your customers. And make sure you know how they are being treated, by your customer care department. It could very well mean the difference between success or failure.
Insist on doing the right thing by your customers and your staff. It’ll pay off in spades! In fact, you can read about some startling statistics here. One of which is that it costs 6 to 7 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.
Here’s to more caring and smarter marketing,
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