From the Center for Strategic Relations, a twice-monthly supplement to Applying Strategic Relations, mailed at your request

Losing Customer Loyalty?

What, I'm NOT a recluse! I'm just busy! There are a few things I want to address in this issue -- bear with me a little bit, I want to show you that I'm listening, there is a lesson to be learned here that you can apply to your sales and marketing.

Even though I'm a pain to reach and don't always answer just anybody's calls. First -- if you are NOT paying me money, I'm NOT likely to answer your calls. It's not that I don't want to hear from you, it's just that people who are paying for my time have paid for my attention.

How are you treating your customers? Are you stopping what your customers are paying you for to do something for someone who isn't paying you (so that they might in the future pay you)? I call this "setting priorities" -- that's why I don't give away my cell phone number to non-repeat clients, and do the "I'll call you" to all prospects.

The lesson: Be available to your active customers twice as much as you are available to customers and three times as much to those who are not yet customers.? People will complain, but until they are ready to sit down to talk seriously about hiring you, you're too busy with people who are paying you to care about other things. Loyalty comes when customers see how you respect their time.

During the course of a week I have various invitations to luncheons around the Tidewater area, I gracefully deny most all of them, not that I like to be in my office all day, but I have things to do. My clients are located all over the world. I don't accept drop in visitors -- people get mad about this, appointment only I say.

How can I be available for a tele-coaching call, out-of-town assignment, or interview if I'm allowing people to drop in on me? Are you working to your schedule or to someone else's schedule? I recognize some balance is necessary. At the end of this message, you'll find I am making accommodations for GOLD Members.

The whole point of this is that technology is for your convenience, not for those people who sell it to you. Choose tools that advance you and your customers, not only the customers you have, but the customers you want to have.

As much as I like just chatting with people, I use technology to insolate me from time wasters, and yes, it does keep me from good opportunities, but as long as it keeps me focused on paying customers, then it's a good technology investment. (I don't want good opportunities as much as I want great opportunities.)

My little office reaches thousands of qualified buyers every week, sometimes every day. I use everything I share here, and my clients use these methods on a scale that eclipses my imagination. Its technology as a tool, (not as novelty) plus prioritization that makes this possible.

In the last lesson, you learned how to keep major accounts buying from you over any other option available. This is a critical part of cultivating customer loyalty, but one thing was missing is how you use your CRM system to support this effort. In today's lesson, you'll learn about the silent but deadly things your CRM system is doing that costs you customer loyalty. Next month you'll find out how this is hurting more than your selling team and is likely cutting into your own bonus / profit sharing.

You may have noticed the new fax campaign for freelance industrial and high-tech copywriting -- I'm accepting a limited number of assignments, if you have NOT received a notice titled "Former IT Systems Administrator," then email your fax number. Free information kit only available in US and Canada.


Justin Hitt
+1 (877) 207-3798

Ps. For UK GOLD Members, I've also installed a direct local line. I'm added new open call-in times GOLD Members, please login to Applying Strategic Relations for details. You'll get more time to access me and ask questions for coaching.

What Your CRM System Isn't Doing That Is Costing Your Customer Loyalty Today

By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Advisor,

Customer relationship management was supposed to increase customer loyalty, keeping buyers running back for more, but what it's done is just drained the wallets of today's companies. How does today's industrial and high-tech business-to-business firm keep the customers they have with today's tight competition?

Tools won't every replace the relationship you have with your customers, it can only augment, support, and help cultivate aspects of that relationship. A farmer once told me, he didn't need better rattraps; he needed fewer things that kept the rats hanging around. You don't need new customers; you need more customers that are profitable.

By no means am I comparing your customers to rats, but wouldn't business be so much better if you didn't have to deal with "those" customers who just cost so much to serve, and even if you did everything right for them, they still don't buy enough to be worth serving. Customer relationship management is an excellent tool to weed them out quickly.

The reason the other "guru's" aren't having this discussion with you is because they don't know to have it -- Customer relationship management like any other tool in your business helps you eliminate unproductive customers so you can focus resources on customers worth having. Your profitable customers you're losing because you don't know who they are.

Here are common mistakes you are making with your CRM system that costs you millions each year, especially if you have a high-ticket technical or industrial solution:

  1. Sales, marketing, and service not using your CRM system properly;
  2. Your CRM system is not being used as it was designed to be used;
  3. End-users don't know how to use your CRM system properly;
  4. Not having the right information in one CRM system;
  5. No significant customer service improvement with CRM system;
  6. Inaccurate or out of date information in CRM system;
  7. Not being used as a proactive support tool for both sales and service;
  8. Not rewarding customers for buying your product or service;
  9. CRM system isn't increasing your revenue with cross sell opportunity;
  10. System is not tracking interaction history or creating profiles;
  11. Missing vital personal information about contacts in the system;
  12. No automation of common retention activities or follow up;

Each day that passes where you don't do two or more of the things on this small list, is a day that customers are being repelled by your company's inattention to simple details that basic CRM systems are supposed to address. Unfortunately, today's CRM vendors will drop software in your lap with a pat on the back and a "Good Luck" as they run to the bank to cash the fat check you just gave them.

It doesn't have to be that way. With a clear customer retention strategy, designed to take full advantage of the tools your company has already invested in, you can drive new buyers into your lead funnel. With a mix of new customers and repurchases, a CRM system that cultivates customer loyalty will put you on the path of solid growth for years to come.

© 2006 Justin Hitt, All rights reserved.
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