Divide and conquer: 4 tips for working with a client in the service business
It happens that a client has worked with you for many years, became a friend and brother, and then turned around and went to competitors. And then another, and more. In this situation, it is logical to check the entire business process, starting with the quality of the service provided and ending with communications. But what to do when you have a great product and team, but the customers leave anyway?
Our company works in the digital field: we are engaged in search engine promotion, SMM and performance marketing. Revenues from regular customers are a significant source of profit, so we monitor the number of departures. When last year the percentage of withdrawals exceeded critical indicators for our business model, we began to look for errors in the customer service.
The problem lay in inefficient work. Accounts were so busy with routine operations that they did not have time to advise clients. The output was the separation of roles, which allowed not only to overcome the crisis, but also to increase sales by 5 times. We tell how companies quickly and on their own increase the efficiency of customer service.
Separate collection of receivables as a separate function
In the service business, customer service employees are multi-armed Shiva. They solve customer problems, collect receivables and simultaneously sell. This is mistake. We also prepared special forces from our accounts until we realized that it was costly and pointless. The account manager must do one thing – to keep customers.
Free the account from the “receivables”, create for this job the position of a specialist in receivables (account receivable manager, A / R manager). If your business, like ours, works on an advance basis, the project work stops without prepayment. The task of the specialist in receivables is to duplicate accounts, if necessary, to draw the attention of the client to any changes, return him to the agreement on the timing and amount of payment.
Do not transfer current accounts to this position – most likely, they will get bored. Better to cope with people who are used to finding errors in accounts and checking reconciliation acts: former document managers, bank employees, collectors. Experimentally, we found that the specialist in receivables is effective in alliance with a working group of 6-7 accounts.
As a result, two birds with one stone were killed: they reduced the cost of collecting “accounts receivable” and unloaded account managers. Previously, 1,000 rubles of collected debt cost us 12 rubles, now it’s three times less. In addition, accounts that were exempted from collection work received an additional eight hours per month to solve the urgent problems of the client.
Conclusion. Free your account from collecting receivables. Let a specialist with experience in such work do this.
Create a specialist sales position
Despite a large customer base, specialists did not fulfill the plan for secondary sales in the low cost segment. Projects with a small check are conducted by beginners. Holding the attention of customers, they did not have time to sell, and if they found the time, they did not always manage. Then we released them from this role and handed over sales to experienced employees.
Assign secondary sales to a specialist with the right skills. We call it Business Development Manager (BDM), but you have the right to name it differently. BDM is a hybrid of account and sales. BDM sells, prepares commercial offers and concludes contracts – thus removes routine operations from accounts. Like the A / R manager, one reseller is attached to a workgroup of 6-7 accounts. BDM should be perfectly versed in the range of services, so it is easier to grow from competent accounts. Find a specialist with sales skills and strengthen their department. The key skill of such an employee is fearlessness. This compares favorably with an account that always keeps in mind customer loyalty.
Imagine a problematic project. The client is dissatisfied with the results and makes complaints to the account. In this situation, the account is afraid to offer new services or increase the budget. But BDM knows: the best retention is resale. Without changes in the composition, set of services, with old introductory issues, the project problem cannot be solved. Accordingly, expanding / changing the composition of services increases the “stickiness” to the company and positively affects the churn rate (coefficient of customer churn).
Thanks to this decision, we have increased the sales by more than five times. This is due to the fact that one account in the contract bank had 4-5 projects, while BDM works with 15-20 projects from the database of one account. In total, the same time is spent on secondary sales as before, but now it is the working hours of one specialist. Thanks to this, 17 hours a month were freed up for accounts to resolve difficult situations.
Conclusion. Assign secondary sales to a professional account that loves and can sell.