“A Customer Is Never Out of Warranty”

Robert-photo-w-icon-150-4-7-10-FINAL4-150x150Many companies invest heavily to measure their investment in customer support. They track the cost per hour or other metrics to monitor their investment in the support function when, in fact, their business would gain more insight by measuring customer retention.

Customer support is not a cost center, it’s a profit center.

The title of this blog comes from a Seth Godin blog posting that highlights the increasing value of preserving customer relationships. On the upside, over the lifetime of these relationships, your company benefits from a stream of revenue and profitability that is progressively more difficult to replace if lost. On the downside, our highly connected marketplace provides every customer with an easily accessible means for telling the world about their unhappy experience with you.

Treating customers with respect and urgency, and understanding how your business creates value for them, is more critical than ever. Seth suggests that we think of customer retention as “maintaining the chain” – every time the chain is broken, value is lost. You lose value and they lose value.

How were you valued on your last visit to the auto repair shop or when you needed service for your computer or some machine in your shop? Were you treated differently because the product you bought earlier is now out of warranty? Did you become so frustrated by a negative service experience that you decided to never again buy this product or use this supplier?

Aren’t these the moments that should cause you to consider how your business treats customers?

Minutes before you experienced some negative interaction with a product or service, that supplier knew you and how their product or service produced value for you. But now that relationship is in jeopardy. Rather than recognizing your need for support as an opportunity to increase the value of your relationship, they chose to punish you. As Seth would say, “They broke the chain.”

Your customer is never “out of warranty” – don’t miss an opportunity to strengthen your relationship.

How does your business behave when a customer needs your support?

Does your team recognize such moments as a time to invest in your relationship
rather than benefiting from the additional pain you cause your customer?

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