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John Mitchell, Chief Executive, Enterprise First

9th February, 2015 No Comments

Yes … a ‘Queen’ lyric, and they were great to watch, weren’t they?

I was reminded of this when reading the fans forum at my hometown football club – Scunthorpe United.  They are a team with a lot to look forward to:  new Chairman, new Manager, new players, and a superb new stadium to be built next year.  They do have a big problem though, and that is increasing their fan/customer base.

What is becoming increasingly clear is that if they have lost a fan in the past, it is very difficult to get that custom back.  Perhaps someone has had a bad stadium experience; maybe it was poor entertainment (surely not!); perhaps it’s rising ticket prices; or is it that alternative entertainment is now more compelling?  Whatever the reason, even if you have been a loyal customer for many years, if you don’t feel looked after and valued, you will go elsewhere and may never return.

This is such a common problem with all businesses.  We know about the large corporates with little investment in customer service, the hours spent on phone lines trying to resolve a simple problem.  As it becomes easier to switch from that bank, or utilities supplier, to another, we are all voting with our feet.

For a small business, losing long standing customers can have serious consequences.  So, what do businesses do that puts this at risk?

*  Putting all the time and effort into developing new services for new customers whilst not offering the same to existing ones

*  The ‘A’ team (being the new business sales team) with probably little resources for looking after existing users

*  Investing heavily in marketing promotion, case studies, etc, focused on enticing new customers

*  Basic lack of regular communication and engagement

But steps can be taken to avoid it …….

We all put a huge amount of effort into, and prepare carefully, for any meeting with a potential new client.  A review meeting with an existing client is sometimes seen as a chore and often with little preparation.  So step back from all the activity around chasing new customers and think about your existing ones.

What can I do to improve their experience and build their loyalty?

Can I give them something over and above what I am contracted to do?

Monitor their account and take the first step if there is a need to improve.  Make them feel they are very important to you.  They should be able to rely on your support to help them resolve any new challenges they face.

The Cavendish Consortium can help you think more clearly about this.  With Growth Vouchers you can receive up to 50% / £2,000 to invest in strategic advice.  Or you can simply contact your local member organisation and ask to discuss customer care with a business adviser.

Finally, we should all know that it will be easier to sell a new services or ‘add-ons’ to our existing customers, than to a new customer.  It will also make our existing customer feel valued.

Customer care really does make commercial sense ……. don’t let another one bite the dust.

Written by John Mitchell, Chief Executive, Enterprise First




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