Customer retention is how you build a solid business. If you want to last in your market you’ll need to keep the majority of your customers and build from there. When you make decisions that drive them away, you’ve started to slowly put yourself out of business.
Outsourcing to India
The antithesis to customer retention is hiring a company for your customer service and technical support that is the least expensive company on earth. Many times, this will land a company’s customer base in India. While you might think it looks great on paper to slash that customer support expense to a single digit number of what it once was, think again.
These companies operating in India are in the business to make a lot of money. They do far more than pay their employees cheaply. They put almost zero money into training. Now, I am not privy to the agreements between Centurylink, Google Adwords and their Indian customer service companies, so I don’t know what was agreed upon. Let’s just say, the Indian companies are destroying the brand names of their biggest customers.
When a customer calls the tech support line for some help and gets routed to India, something interesting happens. The customer is instantly frustrated by the idiotic things they are told, annoyed by being put on hold constantly and ready to scream over the non-resolution of their issue. In the end, the rep typically blames the customer for the problem or denies there is a problem at all and then speaks in riddles until the customer hangs up. Asking for a supervisor gets you nowhere. The mere mention of going over the rep’s head puts a noticeable panic in their voice, and then they get desperate. However, without any knowledge or training for the company they are representing, there still isn’t anything they can do to help – they just start begging.
What all this means to the customer is that the company they have chosen to do business with, such as Google Adwords, Centurylink or other large corporations, cares so little about customer retention that they are routing them to an untrained worker in a foreign land to spin in circles until they give up. The corporation wants their customer’s money and wants nothing to do with their petty problems like the service or product isn’t working, or are in need of information on how to use the product.
When the huge corporations see on their spreadsheet that their customer retention is taking a large dive, they’ll eventually do something about it. It will probably take ten white Millennials with MBAs two years to figure it out while they try everything but the obvious. So, there is hope. These sorts of business practices come and go in waves. When companies get concerned enough about hemorrhaging customers then it will slowly disappear as a plan to cut expenses.
Small Business Customer Retention
So, you probably aren’t in charge of a mammoth corporation, but you are running a small business. You might think this has nothing to do with you, given you don’t outsource to India. Your shop in Main Street, USA, is just 10 or 50 employees. But, customer retention should be foremost on your mind. There is plenty for you to do to protect and grow your company by focusing on customer retention. The next blog post tomorrow will go into detail on what you should be doing and it’ll have some new things to learn that will have a big impact on your small business’s growth.