To paraphrase Tolstoy, 'Happy customers are all alike; each unhappy customers is unhappy in its own way.' If you're having any success at all in business, you have a strong body of happy customers who are getting what you promised them. But don't be seduced by their praise. The unhappy customers are the ones who can point out to you where you're falling down. Unhappy customers will be extremely specific about what has gone wrong. Your efforts to put that right may or may not win back the customer, but they will certainly make your product or service better, and improve your future ratio of happy:unhappy customers.
Michael Byrnes, StrategyPal founder
When the engineers think their job is done when the widget is working, or the sales staff think they've succeeded when the deal is closed, you've failed to impress upon your team that everyone in the company should have the needs and desires, opinions and experiences of your customers at the forefront of their minds at all times. Could the engineer suggest a regular maintenance check? Provide some free advice about cutting operating costs? Could the sales person ask for feedback about customer satisfaction? Could you benefit from your staff being proactive in nurturing client relationships? You bet you could.
Actually, they're both gold, but that's not poetry. We all could use more customers, and it is appropriate to invest time and energy in generating leads and converting them into new friends. But it's equally important to keep the customers you have. Customer retention numbers are a pretty accurate measure of a business' sustainability. By all means, get out there and draw in new prospects, but don't neglect the people who already believe in your business - your old friends.
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