留住顧客的挑戰

By Rick Boxx

哈佛商業評論(Harvard Business Review)中有一篇文章談到企業平均每五年會流失50%的顧客,通常都是因為「客戶服務」作得不好。一般企業要能夠成功的存活下來,勢必需要每年的利潤達到成長,而企業的作法大多著重在開發新顧客,但其實更重要的是能維持住現有的客戶。

無論是否為營利機構,大多數的領導階層都了解,維持現有顧客的成本比開發新客戶的成本少很多。然而這個事實常被忽略,導致怠慢了對現有顧客的服務。許多負責人甚至不知道每一年他們企業流失客戶量的實際數據。

所謂的「電話行銷」當然是作生意以及增加客源的一種方式,但這是一項事倍功半的手法,需要極大的耐心和毅力。即便如此,吸引新客戶的成功率仍然很低。比較實際以及合理的作法應該是將經營重心放在服務現有客戶,要確實讓老客戶知道他們被高度重視,而且你非常感謝他們。

問題是,我們要如何有效地做到這項服務?

聖經舊約中箴言27章23節建議一個好的起點:「你要詳細知道你羊群的景況,留心料理你的牛群。」請想像一個牧羊人被賦予照顧、餵養並保護一群羊的責任。他會仔細地看著牠們,會注意牠們的需要是否被滿足,或者羊群是否因某種危險而感到不安。將這種景象放在腦海中,然後把你自己當成你客戶的「牧羊人」。

你要怎麼做?首先,若你尚未追蹤每年失去的顧客數量,就該立刻開始著手計算。這個結果可能會刺激你去想辦法留住他們。你可以聯絡過去的顧客,詢問他們不再與你交易的理由。

你可以向顧客作簡短、隨機的調查,請他們敘述與你作生意的經驗--他們喜歡的部份,尤其是他們不喜歡的部份,有什麼須要改進之處。若你收到一位顧客的抱怨,要盡一切能力解決。並且後續還要跟進,看顧客是否滿意你所做的處理。

所謂的「金科玉律」可以作為卓越的方針--「你們願意人怎樣待你們,你們也要怎樣待人」(馬太福音7章12節)。耶穌也說:「要愛人如己」(馬可福音12章31節)。把這些方針放在心中,就是把顧客當成「你的鄰舍」。若角色互換,你變成顧客,你想要被怎麼對待?你期待怎樣的服務?以身為顧客的角度去檢視你所屬的企業,目前的做法有沒有哪一項是不合格的?

重視既有客戶,不代表我們不應該尋求新顧客。而且不管我們做得多麼努力或提供多好的服務,總還是有些客戶會離去。但如箴言所建議,注意羊群的景況,是確保我們公司有穩定未來的一個方法。

本文版權為正直資源中心(Integrity Resource Center, Inc.)所有。本文獲得授權改編自「瑞克.博克思 的正直時刻Integrity Moments with Rich Boxx」。這系列的文章是以一個基督徒的觀點評論職場的正直議題。

省思/討論題目
你知道過去一年,或過去五年,你的公司流失了多少顧客嗎?若知道,你如何處理?若不知道,是什麼原因讓你忽略這個問題? 你的公司或機構目前是否如聖經箴言27章23節所描述,主動做什麼事去評估「羊群的景況」?你可以做什麼你目前沒做的事? 供需互換,角色互易,若將你自己看成顧客而非供應商。這樣的角色轉換會帶給你什麼新的想法及幫助? 依你之見,請解釋「你們願意人怎樣待你們,你們也要怎樣待人。」這句話的意義?若你按照耶穌的命令「愛人如己」的態度對待客戶,將會為你的生意帶來什麼改變?註:若你有聖經且想要讀更多有關此主題的經文,請參考以下經節:利未記19章13節;箴言11章14節,14章4節,15章22節,17章3節,17章10節,21章1節;路加福音10章27-37節

THE CHALLENGE OF RETAINING CUSTOMERS
By Rick Boxx

An article in the Harvard Business Review stated that on average, businesses lose 50 percent of their customers every five years, often due to poor customer service. Since both success and survival of most businesses is predicated on experiencing net revenue growth every year, constantly prospecting for new customers is critical – unless more can be done to retain existing customers.

Most leaders of both for-profit companies and non-profit organizations understand the cost of retaining an existing customer is far less than what it takes to acquire a new customer. Yet this reality is frequently overlooked, resulting in under-serving existing customers. Many leaders do not even have any specific knowledge or statistics on the volume of customers that leave their businesses in a typical year.

So-called “cold calling” is certainly one approach to building business and increasing a customer base, but this is hard work, requiring great patience and persistence. And even then, the percentage rate for attracting new customers can be low. So it makes sense to give primary attention to current customers, making certain they know how highly valued they are and how much you appreciate them.

The question is, how do we do this effectively?

A verse from the Old Testament of the Bible, Proverbs 27:23, suggests a good starting point: "Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds." Imagine a shepherd given responsibility for the care, feeding and protection of a flock of sheep. He would watch them closely, striving to notice whenever they have needs not being met, or when they might be in discomfort or some kind of jeopardy. With that image in mind, consider yourself a “shepherd” of your customers.

How would you do that? To start, if you are not already doing this, start tracking the number of customers you lose each year. That might motivate you to find ways to keep them. You might follow up on past customers and ask why they chose to stop doing business with you.

You might conduct brief, random surveys of customers, asking them to describe their experience in doing business with you – what they liked, what (if anything) they did not like, what could be improved. If you receive a customer complaint, do everything you can to resolve the situation. Then follow up to see if what you did was satisfactory to the customer.

The so-called “Golden Rule” can serve as an excellent guideline – “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). Jesus also said, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). With these in mind, think of the customer as “your neighbor.” If roles were reversed, and you were your own customer, how would you want to be treated? How would you expect to be treated? Are any of your current business practices something that, if you were the customer, would be unacceptable?

This is not to say we should not continue to pursue new customers. Some existing customers will leave no matter what we do or how well we serve them. But paying attention to the condition of our flocks, as the proverb advises, is one way to secure a stable future for our companies.

Copyright 2015, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from "Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx," a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Do you know how many customers your business has lost in the past year – or the past five years? If so, what have you done about that? If not, why not? Is your company or organization currently doing anything proactively to assess “the condition of your flocks,” as Proverbs 27:23 describes it? What could you be doing that you currently are not doing? How might it help to do a role reversal, viewing yourself as a customer rather than the provider of your goods or services? What, in your opinion, does it mean to do to others what you would have them do to you? What about Jesus” command to “love your neighbor as yourself” – in trying to do this, would it make a difference in how you conduct business on an everyday basis? Why or why not?NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Leviticus 19:13, Proverbs 11:14, 14:4, 15:22, 17:3, 17:10, 21:1; Luke 10:27-37

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