And, I could have taken this in the direction of all those relationships where we feel like we ‘let the best one get away’ (did we really though?)…
But it all comes back to the same thing…what happens when in our business didn’t see it coming.
Can you really be a ‘valued’ customer if you got one of these messages? And if you’ve sent a message like this – so have I AND….the point remains. We missed the signs or we didn’t have a system in place to ensure we were maintaining the relationship AFTER the acquisition phase.
The Break Up
As I sat down to write today I had just cancelled my Internet service. Correction. I just changed Internet service providers because no one I know ‘cancels’ Internet today.
When I work with people inside RECALIBRATE, one of our favourite weeks is spent diving into the Relationship Journey.
This journey has two basic sides to it, like a lot of things I share: customer acquisition and retention.
If you’ve read, watched or listened to other resources, you’ll know that I firmly believe – because science and spiritual traditions confirm it – that we live in a Yes-And Universe. That means, it’s not either acquisition OR retention…it’s both.
Duh…Tricia, of course!
I know it makes sense and we might be one of those business owners who clearly, consistently builds the relationship from both sides…so this might be for those who have come out of The Hunger Games of Business where there has been an overt and largely unequal focus on acquisition.
If you’re new to me or Coherent U or the idea of building a sustainable business based on creating more AND experiencing more here are a couple of KEY resources to ‘reframe’ the role and purpose of Business and help you recalibrate YOURS.
About four years ago, I sent one of those ‘baby come back’ messages…
I had spoken to a group of business people in a neighbouring city and I got about 10 prospective clients from the interaction.
Ten people who raised their hand, told me that what I shared had resonated with them and that they would like to connect. – I had INITIATED a relationship with them.
About six months later, I looked back and realized that I hadn’t called any of them and out went the ‘Baby Come Back’ message…Raise your hand if you’ve ever done this…REALLY??! No one but me?
The Pain Isn’t Where the Problem Is
It’s a pain in the ass to change some commercial relationships and some of you know exactly HOW painful the process is. On the other hand, some of you are absolute wizards at gaming things like telecomm because you figured out a while ago that inside some relationships, loyalty actually has very few rewards.
You may know I took a brief reprieve from ‘Business’ and studied yoga/yoga therapy where I learned MORE about ‘Business’ than I had being in ‘Business’ for more 20 years and I learned, that the pain isn’t where the problem is.
In ‘Business’ we encounter all kinds of aches and pains – as owners and as customers. Lagging sales, lack of engagement, increased workloads because, God bless technology, we’re continually being asked to re-evaluate how and what we’re using to facilitate the customer relationship.
The pain isn’t where the problem is.
I felt pain in my Internet relationship and I didn’t really ‘notice’ the pain, until, if you can believe it, a door-to-door visitor from a ‘competitive’ provider. The good fellow suggested that perhaps I wasn’t getting what I thought I was getting and that I could do better, nicely triggering my ‘fear of missing out’.
The pain isn’t where the problem is.
We FEEL the pain AND the problem is something inside the Relationship Triangle has gotten out alignment – inside our business and beyond and Business Rehab goes right to the very heart of realigning what we’ve all learned from a culture of Business built on competition, conflict and scarcity.
It costs us between 6-25x more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.
Identifying the Acquisition Loop
Three things stood out during this transition the told me this particular business was caught in the ‘Acquisition Loop’:
1) My contact this morning was genuinely disappointed that I was cancelling my account, “is there anything I can do to change your mind?” “I wish there was something I could have done” “If you’d be interested in staying I could offer you…”
2) Unfortunately there was nothing she could do because Company X is not really focused on RETAINING customers, they were focused on getting NEW customers.
3) Even if I had stayed, it would be a matter of time before I faced the same feelings again of being taken for granted and overlooked (I challenge you to find one person that wants to stay in a relationship for long, with someone who takes you for granted and overlooks the signals you’re sending – overt or subtle).
Customers are telling us everyday what they need and want.
Feeling like our hands are tied, that we don’t know how to create equilibrium between acquiring and retaining and the often the final straw – seeing customers leaving after its too late to restore the relationship are all signs that we’re caught in the Acquisition Loop.