For anyone who has car insurance or a mobile phone, you may have experienced the sales process that goes on behind the scenes at your supplier. Each year, when you take the opportunity to review your payment plan, you occasionally find there’s an opportunity to pay less for what you are getting.
You’ll ring your supplier to talk to them reasonably about getting a competitive rate and always in the back of your mind that you may need to take your business elsewhere.
We could label the person who answers your call a salesperson, but it would be unfair to. They didn’t call you, woo you, and don’t have the ability to affect the price that their computer screen is telling them to say. And so it is, when they are ‘afraid’ that they can’t help you any further, you then get referred to that special department saved only for customer like you. The retention team.
Ah, the retention team, now we’re talking, they’ll be able to help you, and thankfully more often than not, they do. But how is it that you aren’t talking to these people in the first place? Why can’t EVERYONE be in retention? Isn’t it pretty useful for a business to retain their customers?
And so, they win you back and you feel all warm and lovely that you’ve gained a further 10% discount. You clever thing.
Although, not so clever when you see that same company launching a new promotion just a few days later awarding 10% discount for all new sign-ups… even before they’ve started paying them for the service.
Now you’ve committed to them for another year before you can grumble again, and now you realise that it’s only you that’s not okay with that. The supplier may communicate with you from time-to-time but only to send you emails promoting new services. You resign yourself to the knowledge that you’ll never hear a peep from them unless they want something from you and that you could have received a further discount if only you thought to. Now you’re not happy.
It has to matter to your sales people whether your clients are happy, grumpy, or dopey (come on, it is Panto season). Maybe it’s time to look at how consistent you are throughout your entire sales process in the way you incentivise and engage clients. It just doesn’t make sense to make more fuss over a potential client more than an existing one – don’t let your relationships be one of convenience. No more giving discounts to strangers and reward existing customer loyalty.
When it comes to your loyal customer base, incentivise and don’t desensitise.
Susanne Dansey is the Managing Director of Purple Cow Ideas Management – an organisation that facilitates a paradigm shift in the collaborative nature of the ICT Industry. You can follow her on Twitter and join the conversation on Facebook.