Maximizing Client Relationships: Why A Sample of ONE is All You Need
How do you gather information on client satisfaction? If you’re like thousands of other businesses, your key account managers or executives periodically touch base with major accounts to ask the question. This is the simplest form of using a sample size of one to gain insights into customer sentiment, but this manual, and often subjective method for gathering input could be leading you down the wrong path.
Market research trends have shifted with the development of advanced technologies, and the power of data analysis is driving a new level of customer service. You no-longer need large data pools to get transformational insights from digital tools. Deep dives into customer sentiment and behavior have become easier and more cost-effective, giving you access to powerful information on your sample size of one. By understanding the needs, perceptions, and satisfaction levels of your biggest customer(s), you can turn their loyalty into your profits.
Translating Loyalty into Profits
Consider the cost of maintaining your biggest customer in comparison to the array of resources you expend when courting a new one. From marketing and sales initiatives to proposal writing and relationship building, new client acquisition is an expensive undertaking compared to customer retention efforts. To put it another way, the budget you put towards customer retention is money well spent.
Loyal customers tend to increase their spend over the course of time – especially when they find a B2B partner that can address their needs and offer consistent results. While these customers are purchasing more, the operational costs of servicing their accounts decrease – creating larger profit margins and more consistent revenue. In fact, Bain & Company, a global business consulting firm, estimates that a 5% increase in customer retention could produce up to a 25% increase in profits.
But the question remains: how do you build loyalty and retain more clients?
Developing effective client retention strategies requires detailed and reliable data on what’s most important to a client, how well you’re addressing their needs, and where your company is falling short. Unfortunately, the information gathered by your internal team during client calls or meetings is anecdotal and, likely, inaccurate. Imagine trying to narrate a Polaroid snapshot of a single moment that’s been riddled with emotion through a game of telephone -- it doesn’t work. The real key to success is leveraging strategic and data-driven analyses that comes directly from the client.
With even one high-value client, the tools for gathering advanced customer insights can pay for themselves by decreasing the resources spent on business development, increasing the profits you generate with your current customer base, and giving you real information on how you can better address the needs of each client.
Unlocking the Power of Individualized Insights
Aggregate data is important for identifying large-scale trends in behavior and preferences, but the untapped power of data analytics exists in the individualized results from your sample of one. Tools, such as Stonegate’s Retention Automation SaaS Platform – STAMP, give access to actual customer sentiment from the dual-perspectives of performance against what is most important to the customer.
B2B businesses rely on long-term relationships and your ability to adapt to evolving client needs. “We developed STAMP because the business environment is changing,” says Marc Pierce, founder and CEO of Stonegate. “Especially in the B2B market, customers expect a certain level of customized offerings and tailored service models.”
In addition to analyzing aggregate metrics, STAMP is designed to give decision makers an intuitive way to examine one-on-one relationships, develop personalized strategies, and act on individualized insights. “Most executives would agree that understanding your customers’ needs is fundamental to business success, but less than 5% of companies systematically obtain feedback from their B2B customers,” Pierce adds. “That’s a lot of missed opportunities.”
Obtaining Feedback with Frequency
While a sample size of one can glean powerful insights into your most important account, a frequency of one won’t do the job. Identifying individualized trends and benchmarks unlocks your ability to adapt and plan, so you aren’t left scrambling for solutions when your customer’s needs change. Not only does this ensure that you’re able to retain your most valued customers, but it also means that you’ll be able to expand upon the economic value of the relationship over time.
Leveraging the Power of STAMP
Imagine being able to measure performance scores on key categories of customer needs and from multiple perspectives. STAMP allows you to systematically determine how well you are delivering on what is most important to your customers, so you can create action plans for internal and external solutions.
With an intuitive dashboard, STAMP visualizes the gap between importance versus performance, alerts key managers when accounts are underperforming, and tracks account and team performance over time. By transforming customer data into user-friendly insights and visualizations, STAMP delivers a playbook for keeping your highest-value customer(s).
Even if you are a small business and believe you’re too small to benefit from advanced tools like STAMP, you will see a positive ROI. The reality is that you’re likely already spending resources on manual attempts at measuring customer sentiment – with minimal results. Can you afford to gamble with the economic power your biggest clients bring to the table?
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