Saturday, January 24, 2009

New Is In...Old Is Out!

The over-obsession with new customer acquisition, often at the expense of existing customers is quite perplexing and worrying.

I've shifted residence recently, and was seeking to transfer my DTH (Direct to Home) connection. The experience has been quite hilarious and often painfully frustrating. The engineers arrived promptly and indicated that there would be nominal shifting charges and some other installation charges. I questioned the rationale for the latter, and did mention that I have been a customer for over four years, subscribing to their premium packages. Also did bring to their notice that my subscription had been live for over three years and this was the second time in this period that I was required to incur these charges.

The team quite obviously did not take well to my questioning their irrational installation charges and disappeared without a trace! I waited patiently for over a week and then contacted the local sales team. I was politely informed by the chap, that the engineering team had updated the system as "customer refused to pay any charges" and hence recommended that my service be deactivated.

The saga continued for over a week, wherein I was assured repeatedly that the installation team would arrive, but they just did'nt turn up. I did shift my business to an alternate service provider, but I continue receiving warm marketing messages from my old friends highlighting new offers and services. Quite clearly they do not know that I am no more their customer.

I've had several other similar experiences and has forced me to take a hard look at the business that I manage as well, and often believe that we do not spend as much time as we should on our existing customers who deliver revenues and contribute to the bottomline.

These are challenging timelines, and budgets for large customer acquisition would be hard to come by. A reality that we tend to ignore quite often...the impact of incremental investments on existing customers are often higher than those on new customers.

Keep your eye on the ball and don't take your existing customers for granted. This is perhaps the fundamental basis for creating customer loyalty.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more regarding your comment on taking existing customers for granted. I have recently been left feeling that some of the companies I have been doing business with for years take me for granted, as if I will always be there for them. I just had an experience like that last night at my local Blockbuster store so I have dropped them and switched to Netflix today :)