There’s an old saying in advertising; Creativity wins them, Account Management loses them. In other words, it takes an equal amount of dedication in looking after your customers, as it does to win them in the first place.
Communication is Retention
Building a relationship with a new customer takes time. Without prompt, professional communication, it can be quickly eroded. Even automated, online systems can ensure good customer retention using a “hunting and hugging” approach. Take Amazon as an example. The hunting takes place with massive investments with online advertising and Search Engine Optimization. Once people arrive at the site and make their choices, the hugging begins. Recommending other related books, providing reader reviews, testimonials and easy navigation, enables the customer to feel comfortable with the purchase process. Once the order is placed, regular email communication is sent to inform one of their order status right to delivery.
Death is in the Details
Many successful organizations recognize it takes very different kinds of personalities to capture new business versus managing project execution. Generally speaking, sales people are driven and aggressive but not detail oriented. That’s why getting sales reports completed is often a bane of every sales manager’s existence. Conversely, project or account managers thrive on detail. The best project managers intuitively understand the clients’ expectations and work timelessly to hold their hands through the fulfillment process. Too often, projects have been mishandled and customers lost by not paying attention to the details.
Hunting & Hugging
To avoid these kinds of challenges, adapt a Hunting & Hugging approach to business development and customer care. Hire and keep people who are focused, driven and goal oriented; the Hunters. Their role is to constantly fill the sales funnel and capture new opportunities. As they win accounts, they pass off the day-to-day care of the customer to the detail specialist; Project Manager or internal Customer Service Representatives (CSR). CSR’s run with the day-to-day service and delivery of the projects, products or services and are affectionately known as the Huggers. They are not only proficient at “hugging” the customer but the customer wants to hug them back when they do a great job.
Win, Win, Win
This approach is a triple win. Hunters are now unencumbered by the hassle of account details, Huggers get to focus on making their customer happy and the customer is happy because they receive what they expect and more. Having a solid rapport with both company representatives stabilizes the customers’ connection to the organization, building on the foundation of trust.
The Hunting and Hugging approach provides a comfortable, trusting environment to develop long-lasting customer relations and loyalty resulting in business growth and profits.